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ABOUT PARIS 



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BY 



RICHARD HARDING DAVIS 



ILLUSTRATED 




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NEW YORK AND LONDON 

HARPER &■ BROTHERS 

PUBLISHERS 190^ 



Copyright, 1895, by Harper & Brothers. 

All ri^lits reser-ofd 



TO 

PAUL BOURGET 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 

I. THE STREETS OF PARIS , I 



II. THE SHOW-PLACES OF PARIS— NIGHT . , , 47 

III. PARIS IN MOURNING 98 

IV. THE GRAND PRIX AND OTHER PRIZES . , , 138 
V. AMERICANS IN PARIS 177 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



PAGE 
** PARIS HAD TAKEN OFF HER MOURNING "... Frontispiece 

"THE CONCIERGE OF EACH HOUSE STOOD CONTINUALLY 

AT THE FRONT DOOR " 3 

"SHE LOOKED DOWN UPON OUR STREET" 9 

"WITH A LONG LOAF OF BREAD" I3 

"TES DANS LA RUE, VA, t'ES CHEZTOI " . ..... I9 

"THE PARTY PROMPTLY BROKE UP " 25 

"AND TRANSFORM LONG-HAIRED STUDENTS INTO MEM- 
BERS OF THE institute" 3I 

INSIDE columbin's 37 

"AND YOU believe THE GUIDES" 4I 

THE CHATEAU ROUGE 59 

AT BRUANT's 65 

AT THE BLACK CAT 71 

A CAFE CHANTANT 77 

ON MONTMARTRE 83 

SOME YOUNG PEOPLE OF MONTMARTRE • 89 

AT THE MOULIN ROUGE 93 

AT THE JARDIN DE PARIS I03 

PORTRAITS OF CARNOT IN HEAVY BLACK IO9 

"TO BRING A QUEEN BACK TO PARIS " 115 

"the GIRL WHO REPRESENTED ALSACE " I3I 

THE RESTAURANT AMONG THE TREES 143 



X ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGH 

INTERESTED IN THE WINNER I49 

"AROUND SOME SIATKI.Y DKINITARY " 157 

"THE MAN THAT 15ROKE THE HANK AT MONTE CARLO " 167 
"LISTENING FOR THE VOICE TO SPEAK HIS NAME ONCE 

more" I7Q 

"STANDING ON THEIR FEET FOR HOURS AT A TIME" . 187 
"THE AMERICAN COLONY IS NOT WICKED" .... I95 
WHAT MIGHT SOME TIME HAPPEN IF THESE WERE LOVE- 
MATCHES 203 

"'l HAVE ONE PICTURE IN THE SALON'" 21$ 



ABOUT PARIS 



ABOUT PARIS 




THE STREETS OF PARIS 

): ^^ ( ^ ;(^FIE street that I knew best in Paris 
was an unimportant street, and one 
into which important people seldom 
came, and then only to pass on 
through it to the Rue de Rivoli, which ran par- 
allel with it, or to the Rue Castiglione, which 
cut it evenly in two. It was to them only the 
shortest distance between two points, for the 
sidewalks of this street were not sprinkled with 
damp sawdust and set out with marble-topped 
tables under red awnings, nor were there the 
mirrors and windows of jewellers and milliners 
along its course to make one turn and look. It 
was interesting only to those people who lived 
upon it, and to us perhaps only for that reason. 



2 ABOUT PARIS 

If you judged it by the circumstance that we all 
spent our time in hanging out of the windows, 
and that the concierge of each house stood con- 
tinually at the front door, you would suppose it 
to be a most interesting thoroughfare, in which 
things were always happening. What did hap- 
pen was not interesting to the outsider, and you 
had to live in it some time before you could ap- 
preciate the true value of the street. With one 
exception. This was the great distinction of our 
street, and one of which we were very proud. A 
poet had lived in his way, and loved in his way, 
in one of the houses, and had died there. You 
could read the simple, unromantic record of this 
in big black letters on a tablet placed evenly 
between the two windows of the entresol. It 
gave a distinguished air to that house, and ren- 
dered it different from all of the others, as a 
Legion of Honor on the breast of a French sol- 
dier makes him conspicuous amongst his fellows. 



ALFRED DE MUSSET 

ne a Paris 

Le II Decembre 1810 

est mort 
dans cette maison 

Le 2 Mai 1857 



THE STREETS OF PARIS 5 

We were all pleased when people stopped and 
read this inscription. We took it as a tribute 
to the importance of our street, and we felt a 
proprietary interest in that tablet and in that 
house, as though this neighborly association with 
genius was something to our individual credit. 

«We had other distinguished people in our 
street, but they were very much alive, and their 
tablets were colored ones drawn by Cheret, and 
pasted up all over Paris in endless repetition ; 
and though their celebrity may not live as long 
as has the poet's, while they are living they seem 
to enjoy life as fully as he did, and to get out 
of the present all that the present has to give. 

The one in which we all took the most inter- 
est lived just across the street from me, and by 
looking up a little you could see her looking out 
of her window, with her thick, heavy black hair 
bound in bandeaux across her forehead, and a 
great diamond horseshoe pinned at her throat, 
and with just a touch of white powder showing 
on her nose and cheeks. She looked as though 
she should have lived by rights in the Faubourg 
St.-Germain, and she used to smile down rather 
kindly upon the street with a haughty, tolerant 
look, as if it amused her by its simplicity and 
idleness, and by the quietness, which only the 



6 ABOUT PARIS 

cries of the children or of the hucksters, or the 
cracking at times of a coachman's whip, ever 
broke. She looked very well then, but it was in 
the morning that the street saw her at her best. 
For it was then that she went out to ride in 
the Bois in her Whitechapel cart, and as she 
never awoke in time, apparently, we had the 
satisfaction of watching the pony and the tiger 
and cart for an hour or two until she came. It 
was a brown basket-cart, and the tiger used to 
walk around it many times to see that it had 
not changed in any particular since he had ex- 
amined it three minutes before, and the air with 
which he did this gave us an excellent idea of 
the responsibility of his position. So that peo- 
ple passing stopped and looked too — bakers' 
boys in white linen caps and with baskets on 
their arms, and commissionnaires in cocked hats 
and portfolios chained to their persons, and gen- 
tlemen freshly made up for the morning, with 
waxed mustaches and flat -brimmed high hats, 
and little girls with plaits, and little boys with 
bare legs ; and all of us in-doors, as soon as we 
heard the pony stamp his sharp hoofs on the 
asphalt, would drop books or razors or brooms 
or mops and wait patiently at the window until 
she came. 



THE STREETS OF PARIS 7 

When she came she wore a black habit with 
fresh white gloves, holding her skirt and crop in 
one hand, and the crowd would separate on either 
side of her. She did not see the crowd. She 
was used to crowds, and she would pat the 
pony's head or rub his ears with the fresh kid 
gloves, and tighten the buckle or shift a strap 
with an air quite as knowing as the tiger's, but 
not quite so serious. Then she would wrap the 
lap-robe about her, and her maid would take her 
place at her side with the spaniel in her arms, 
and she would give the pony the full length of 
the lash, and he would go off like a hound out of 
the leash. They always reached the corner be- 
fore the tiger was able to overtake them, and I 
believe it was the hope of seeing him some morn- 
ing left behind forever which led to the general 
interest in their departure. And when they 
had gone, the crowd would look at the empty 
place in the street, and at each other, and 
up at us in the windows, and then separate, 
and the street would grow quiet again. One 
could see her again later, if one wished, in the 
evening, riding a great horse around the ring, 
in another habit, but with the same haughty 
smile; and as the horse reared on his hind-legs, 
and kicked and plunged as though he would fall 



8 ABOUT PARIS 

back on her, she would smile at him as she did 
on the children in our street, with the same un- 
concerned, amused look that she would have 
given to a kitten playing with its tail. 

The houses on our street had tall yellow fronts 
with gray slate roofs, and roof-gardens of flowers 
and palms in pots. Some of the houses had iron 
balconies, from which the women leaned and 
talked across the street to one another in pur- 
ring nasal voices, with a great rolling of the r's 
and an occasional disdainful movement of the 
shoulders. When any other than a French 
woman shrugs her shoulders she moves the 
whole upper part of her body, from the hips up; 
but the French woman's shoulders and arms are 
all that change when she makes that ineffable 
gesture that we have settled upon as the char- 
acteristic one of her nation. 

In a street of like respectability to ours in 
London or New York those who lived on it 
would know as little of their next-door neighbor 
as of a citizen at another end of the town. The 
house fronts would tell nothing to the outside 
world ; they would frown upon each other like 
family tombs in a cemetery ; but in this street 
of Paris the people lived in it, or on the bal- 
conies, or at the windows. We knew what they 




SHE LOOKED DOWN UPON OUR STREET 



THE STREETS OF PARIS H 

were going to have for dinner, because we could 
see them carrying the uncooked portions of it 
from the restaurant at the corner, with a long 
loaf of bread under one arm and a single egg in 
the other hand ; and when some one gave a fete 
we knew of it by the rows of bottles on the 
ledge of the window and the jellies set out to 
cool on the balcony. We were all interested in 
the efforts of the stout gentleman in the short blue 
smoking-jacket who taught his parrot to call to 
the coachman of each passing fiacre ; he did this 
every night after dinner, with his cigarette in his 
mouth, and with great patience and good-nature. 
We took a common pride also in the flower- 
garden of the young people on the seventh floor, 
and in their arrangement of strings upon which 
the vines were to grow, and in the lines of roses, 
which dropped their petals whenever the wind 
blew, upon the head of the concierge, so that she 
would look up and shake her head at them, and 
then go inside and get a broom and sweep the 
leaves carefully away. When any one in our 
street went off in his best clothes in a fiacre we 
looked after him with envy, and yet with a cer- 
tain pride that we lived with such fortunate peo- 
ple, who were evidently much sought after in 
the fashionable world ; and when a musician or 



12 ABOUT PARIS 

a blind man broke the silence of our street 
with his music or his calls, we vied with one an- 
other in throwing him coppers — not on his ac- 
count at all, but because we wished to stand 
well in the opinion of our neighbors. It was 
like camping out on two sides of a valley where 
every one could look over into the other's tent. 
There was a young couple near the corner, 
who, I think, had but lately married, and every 
evening she used to watch for him in a fresh 
gown for a half-hour or so before he came. Dur- 
ing the day she wore a very plain gown, and her 
eyes wandered everywhere ; but during that half- 
hour before he came she never changed her po- 
sition nor relaxed her vigil. And it made us all 
quite uncomfortable, and we could not give our 
attention to anything else until he had turned 
the corner and waved his hand, and she had an- 
swered him with a start and a little shrug of 
content. After dinner they appeared together, 
and he would put his arm around her waist, 
with that refreshing disregard for the world that 
French lovers have, and they would smile down 
upon us in a very happy and superior manner, or 
up at the sun as it sank a brilliant red at the 
end of our street, with the hundreds of chimney- 
pots looking like black musical notes against it. 




"with a long loaf of bread" 



THE STREETS OF PARIS 1 5 

There was also a very interesting old lady in 
the house that blocked the end of our street, a 
very fat and masculine old lady in a loose white 
wrapper, who spent all of her time rearranging 
her plants and flowers, and kept up an amiable 
rivalry with the people in the balconies above 
and below her in the abundance and verdure of 
her garden. It was a very pleasant competition 
for the rest of us, as it hung that end of the 
street with a curtain of living green. 

For a little time there was a young girl who 
used to sit upon the balcony whenever the sun 
was brightest and the air not too chill ; but she 
took no interest in the street, for she knew noth- 
ing of it except its noises. She lay always in an 
invalid's chair, looking up at the sky and the 
roof-line above, and with her profile against the 
gray wall. During the day a nurse in a white 
cap sat with her; but after dinner a stout, jaunty 
man of middle age came back from his club or 
his bureau, and took the place beside her until it 
grew dark, when he and the nurse would lift her 
in-doors again, and he would take his hat and go 
off to the boulevards, I suppose, to cheer himself 
a bit. It did not last long, for one day 1 came 
home to find them taking down a black-and-sil- 
ver curtain from the front of the house, and the 



l6 ABOUT PARIS 

concierge said that the girl had been buried, and 
that her father was now quite alone. For the 
first week after that he did not go to the boule- 
vards, but used to sit out on the balcony until 
late into the evening, with the night about him, 
so that we would not have known he was there 
save for the light of his cigar burning in the 
darkness. 

The step from our street to the boulevards is 
a much longer one in the imagination than in 
actual distance. Our street, after all, was only 
typical of thousands of other Parisian streets, 
and when you have explained it you have de- 
scribed miles after miles of other streets like it. 
But there is nothing just like the boulevards. If 
you should wish to sit at the exact centre of the 
world and to watch it revolve around you, you 
have only to take your place at that corner table 
of the Cafe de la Paix which juts the farthest out 
into the Avenue de TOpera and the Boulevard 
Capucines. This table is the apex of all the 
other tables. It turns the tides of pedestrians on 
the broad sidewalks of both the great thorough- 
fares, and it is geographically situated exactly 
under the *' de la " of the " Cafe de la Paix," 
painted in red letters on the awning over your 
head. P>om this admirable position you can 



THE STREETS OF PARIS \J 

sweep the square in front of the Opera-house, 
the boulevard itself, and the three great streets 
running into it from the river. People move 
obligingly around and up and down and across 
these, and if you sit there long enough you 
will see every one worth seeing in the known 
world. 

There is a large class of Parisians whose knowl- 
edge of that city is limited to the boulevards. 
They neither know nor care to know of any 
other part ; we read about them a great deal, of 
them and their witticisms and cafe politics ; and 
what ''the boulevards " think of this or that is as 
seriously quoted as what *' a gentleman very near 
the President," or " a diplomat whose name I am 
requested not to give, but who is in a position to 
know whereof he speaks," cares to say of public 
matters at home. For my part, I should think 
an existence limited to two sidewalks would be 
somewhat sad, especially if it were continued 
into the middle age, which all boulevardiers seem 
to have already attained. It does not strike one 
as a difficult school to enter, or as one for which 
there is any long apprenticeship. You have only 
to sit for an hour every evening under the " de 
la," and you will find that you know by sight 
half the faces of the men who pass you, who 



l8 ABOUT PARIS 

come up suddenly out of the night and disappear 
again, Hke slides in a stereopticon, or whom you 
find next you when you take your place, and 
whom you leave behind, still sipping from the 
half-empty glasses ordered three hours before you 
came. 

The man who goes to Paris for a summer must 
be a very misanthropic and churlish individual if 
he tires of the boulevards in that short period. 
There is no place so amusing for the stranger be- 
tween the hours of six and seven and eleven and 
one as these same boulevards ; but to the Paris- 
ian what a bore it must become ! That is, what 
a bore it would become to any one save a Paris- 
ian ! To have the same fat man with the som- 
brero and the waxed mustache snap patent 
match-boxes in your face day after day and 
night after night, and to have " Carnot at Long- 
champs" taking off his hat and putting it on 
again held out for your inspection for weeks, 
and to seek the same insipid silly faces of boys 
with broad velvet collars and stocks, which they 
believe are worn by Englishmen, and the same 
pompous gentlemen who cut their white goatees 
as do military men of the Second Empire, and 
who hope that the ruddiness of their cheeks, 
which is due to the wines of Burgundy, will be at- 




"TES DANS LA RUE, VA, t'eS CHEZTOI " 



THE STREETS OF PARIS 7.t 

tributcd to the suns of Tunis and Algiers. And 
the same women, the one with the mustache and 
the younger one with the black curl, and the 
hundreds of others, silent and panther-like, and 
growing obviously more ugly as the night grows 
later and the streets more deserted. If any one 
aspires to be known among such as these, his 
aspirations are easily gratified. He can have his 
heart's desire; he need only walk the boulevards 
for a week, and he will be recognized as a boule- 
vardier. It is a cheeip notoriety, purchased at 
the expense of the easy exercise of walking, and 
the cost of some few glasses of "bock," with a 
few cents to the waiter. There is much excuse 
for the visitor; he is really to be envied; it i.-^ 
all new and strange and absurd to him ; but 
what an old, old story it must be to the boule- 
vardier ! 

The visitor, perhaps, has never sat out-of-doors 
before and taken his ease on the sidewalk. Yet 
it seems a perfectly natural thing to do, until he 
imagines himself doing the same thing at home. 
There was a party of men and women from New 
York sitting in front of the Caf^ de la Paix one 
night after the opera, and enjoying themselves 
very much, until one of them suggested their 
doing the same thing the next month at home. 



22 ABOUT PARIS 

"We will all take chairs," he said, " and sit at the 
corner of Twenty-sixth Street and Broadway at 
twelve o'clock at night and drink bock-bier," 
and the idea was so impossible that the party 
promptly broke up and went to their hotels. 

Of course the visitor in Paris misses a great 
deal that the true boulevardier enjoys through 
not knowing or understanding all that he sees. 
But, on the other hand, he has an advantage in 
being able to imagine that he is surrounded by all 
the famous journalists and poets and noted duel- 
lists ; and every clerk with a portfolio becomes a 
Deputy, and every powdered and auburn-haired 
woman who passes in an open fiacre is a cele- 
brated actress of the Comedie Frangaise. He 
can distribute titles as freely as the Papal court, 
and transform long-haired students into members 
of the Institute, and promote the boys of the 
Polytechnic School, in their holiday cocked hats 
and play-swords, into lieutenants and captains of 
the regular army. He believes that the ill-look- 
ing individual in rags who shows such apparent 
fear of the policeman on the corner really has 
forbidden prints and books to sell, and that the 
guides who hover about like vultures looking for 
a fresh victim have it in their power to show him 
things to which they only hold the key — things 



THE STREETS OF PARIS 



23 



which any Frenchman could tell him he could 
see at his own home if he has the taste for such 
sights. 

The best of the boulevards is that the people 
sitting on their sidewalks, and the heavy green 
trees, and the bare heads of so many of the 
women, make one feel how much out-of-doors he 
is, as no other street or city does, and what a 
folly it is to waste time within walls. I do not 
think we appreciate how much we owe to the 
women in Paris who go without bonnets. They 
give the city so homelike and friendly an air, as 
though every woman knew every other woman 
so well that she did not mind running across the 
street to gossip with her neighbor without the 
formality of a head -covering. And it really 
seems strange that the prettiest bonnets should 
come from the city where the women of the 
poorer classes have shown how very pretty a 
woman of any class can look without any bonnet 
at all. 

The enduring nature of the boulevards impress- 
es one who sees them at different hours as much 
as does their life and gayetyat every hour. You 
sometimes think surely to-morrow they will rest, 
and the cafes will be closed, and the long pass- 
ing stream of cabs and omnibuses will stop, and 



24 ABOUT PARIS 

the asphalt street will be permitted to rest from 
its burden. You may think this at ni^jht, but 
when you turn up again at nine the next morn- 
ing you will find it all just as you left it at one the 
same morning. The same waiters, the same rush 
of carriages, the same ponderous omnibuses with 
fine straining white horses, the flowers in the 
booths, and the newspapers neatly piled round 
the colored kiosks. 

The Champs Elysces is hardly a street, but as 
a thoroughfare it is the most remarkable in the 
world. It is a much better show than are the 
boulevards. The place for which you pay to 
enter is generally more interesting than the place 
to which admittance is free, and any one can walk 
along the boulevards, but to ride in the Champs 
Elysees you must pay something, even if you 
take your fiacre by the hour. Some Parisians 
regret that the Avenue des Champs Elysees 
should be so cheapened that it is not reserved for 
carriages hired by the month, and not by the 
course, and that omnibuses and hired cabs are 
not kept out of it, as they are kept out of Hyde 
Park. But should this rule obtain the Avenue 
des Champs Elysees would lose the most amus- 
ing of its features. It would shut out the young 
married couples and their families and friends in 



THE STREETS OF PARIS 2/ 

their gala clothes, which look strangely unfamil- 
iar in the sunlight, and make you think that the 
wearers have been up all night ; and the hundreds 
of girls in pairs from the Jardin de Paris, who 
have halved the expense of a fiacre, but who 
cannot yet afford a brougham ; and the English 
tourists dressed in flannel shirts and hunting-caps 
and knickerbockers, exactly as though they were 
penetrating the mountains of Afghanistan or the 
deserts of Syria, and as unashamed of their pro- 
vincialism as the young marquis who passes on 
his dog-cart is unashamed of having placed the 
girl with him on his right hand instead of his 
left, though by so doing he tells every one who 
passes who and what she is. It would shut out the 
omnibuses, with the rows of spectators on their 
tops, who lean on their knees and look down into 
the carriages below, and point out the prettiest 
gowns and faces ; and it would exckide the 
market-wagons laden with huge piles of yellow 
carrots and purple radishes, with a woman driv- 
ing on the box-seat, and a dog chained beside her. 
There is no other place in the world, unless it be 
Piccadilly at five o'clock in the afternoon, where 
so many breeds of horses trot side by side, where 
the chains of the baron banker and the cracking 
whip of a drunken cabman and the horn of some 



28 ABOUT PARIS 

American millionaire's four-in-hand all sound at 
the same time. To be known is easy in the boule- 
vards, but it is a distinction in the Avenue des 
Champs Elysees — a distinction which costs much 
money and which lasts an hour. Sometimes it 
is gained by liveries and trappings and a large 
red rosette in the button-hole, or by driving the 
same coach at the same hour at the same rate of 
speed throughout the season, or by wearing a fez, 
or by sending two sais ahead of your cart to 
make a way for it, or by a beautiful face and a 
throughbred pug on a cushion at your side, al- 
though this last mode is not so easy, as there are 
many pretty faces and many softly cushioned 
victorias and innumerable pug-dogs, and when 
the prevailing color for the hair happens to be 
red — as it was last summer — the chance of gain- 
ing any individuality becomes exceedingly diffi- 
cult. When all of these people meet in the after- 
noon on theii* way to and from the Bois, there is 
no better entertainment of the sort in the world, 
and the avenue grows much too short, and the 
hours before dinner even shorter. There are 
women in light billowy toilets, with elbows 
squared and whip in hand, fearlessly driving 
great English horses from the top of a mail- 
phaeton, while a frightened little English groom 



THE STREETS OF PARIS 39 

clutches at the rail and peers over their shoulder 
to grasp the reins if need be, or to jump if he 
must. And there are narrow-chested corseted and 
padded young Frenchmen in white kid gloves, 
who hold one rein in each hand as little girls 
hold a "skipping-rope, and who imagine they are 
so like Englishmen that no one can distinguish 
them even by their accent. There are fat He- 
brew bankers and their equally fat sons in open 
victorias, who, lacking the spirit of the French- 
men, who at least attempt to drive themselves, 
recline consciously on cushions, like the poodles 
in the victorias of the ladies with the red hair. 
There are also visiting princes from India or 
pashas from Egypt ; or diplomats of the last 
Spanish-American republic, as dark as the ne- 
groes of Sixth Avenue, but with magnificent 
liveries and clanking chains; the nabobs of Haiti, 
of Algiers and Tunis, and with these the beauti- 
ful Spanish-looking woman from South America, 
the wives of the rastaqoiieres ; and mixed with 
these is the long string of book-makers and 
sporting men coming back from the races at 
Longchamps or Auteuil, red-faced and hot and 
dusty, with glasses strapped around them, and 
the badges still flying from their button-holes. 
There arc three rows of carriages down and 



30 ABOUT PARTS 

three of carriages up, and if you look from the 
Arc deTriomphe to the Tuileries you see a broken 
mass of glittering carriage-tops and lace parasols, 
and what looks like the flashing of thousands of 
mirrors as the setting sun strikes on the glass of 
the lamps and windows and on the lacquered 
harness and polished mountings. Whether you 
view this procession from the rows of green iron 
seats on either side or as a part of it, you must 
feel lifted up by its movement and color and the 
infinite variety of its changes. A man might live 
in the Champs Elysees for a week or a month, 
seeing no more of Paris than he finds under its 
beautiful trees or on its broad thoroughfare, and 
be so well content with that much of the city as 
to prefer it to all other cities. 

There was a little fat man in his shirt sleeves 
one morning in front of the Theatre of the Re- 
public, which, as everybody knows, stands under 
the trees in ihe Champs Elysees, on the Rue 
Matignon, hanging a new curtain, and the fat 
man, as the proprietor and manager, was nat- 
urally anxious. Two small boys with their bare 
legs, and leather belts about their smocks, and a 
nurse with broad blue ribbons down her back, 
and myself looked our admiration from the out- 
side of the roped enclosure. The orchestra had 



THE STREETS OF PARIS 33 

laid down its fiddle, and was helping the man 
who takes the twenty centimes to adjust the 
square yard of canvas. The proprietor placed 
his fat fingers on the small of his back and threw 
his head to one side and shut one eye. We wait- 
ed breathlessly for his opinion. He took two 
steps backward from the ten-centime seats, and 
studied the effect of the curtain from that dis- 
tance, with his chin thrown up and his arms fold- 
ed severely. We suggested that it was an im- 
provement on the old curtain, and one that would 
be sure to catch the passer's eye. 

** Possibly," the proprietor said, indulgently, 
and then wiped his brow and shook his head. 
He told us we had little idea how great were the 
trials of an impresario of an open-air theatre in 
the Champs Elysees. What with the rent and 
the cost of the costumes and the employment 
of three assistants — one to work the marionettes, 
and one to take up the money, and one to play 
in the orchestra — expenses did run up. Of 
course there was madame, his wife, who made 
costumes herself better than those that could be 
bought at the regular costumers', and that was a 
saving; and then she also helped in working the 
figures when there were more than two on the 
scene at once, but this was hard upon her, as she 
3 



34 ABOUT PARIS 

was stout, and the heat at the top of the tin- 
roofed theatre up among the dusty flies was try- 
ing. And then, I suggested, there was much 
competition. The proprietor waved a contempt- 
uous dismissal of the claims of the four little the- 
atres about him. It was not their rivalry that he 
cared for. It is true the seats were filled, but 
with whom ? Ah, yes, with whom ? He placed 
his finger at the side of his nose, and winked and 
nodded his head mysteriously. With the friends 
of the proprietor, of course. Poor non- paying 
acquaintances to make a show, and attract oth- 
ers less knowing to a very inferior performance. 
Now here with him everybody paid, and received 
the worth of his money many times. Perhaps I 
had not seen the performance ; in that case I 
should surely do so. The clown and the donkey- 
cart were very amusing, and the dancing skele- 
ton, which came to pieces before the audience 
and frightened the gendarme, was worthy of my 
approval. So the two small boys and the nurse 
and the baby and I dodged under the rope and 
waited for the performance. 

The idle man, who knows that " they also 
serve who only stand and wait," must find the 
Champs Elysees the most acceptable of all places 
for such easy service. There are at one corner 



THE STREETS OF PARIS 



35 



the stamp-collectors to entertain him, with their 
scrap-books and market-baskets full of their pre- 
cious bits of colored paper, gathered from all 
over the known world, comparing and examining 
their treasures, bargaining with easy good-nature 
and with the zeal of enthusiasts. Three times a 
week he will find this open market or exchange 
under the trees, where old men and little boys 
and pretty young girls meet together and chat- 
ter over their common hobby, and swap Colum- 
bian stamps for those of some French protector- 
ate, and of many other places of which they know 
nothing save that it has a post-office of its own. 
At another corner there are smoothly -shaven 
men and plump, well-fed -looking women wait- 
ing to take service on some gentleman's box- 
seat or in front of some lady's cooking-stove — 
an intelligence office where there is no middle- 
man to whom they must pay a fee, and where, 
while they wait for a possible employer, they 
hold an impromptu picnic, and pay such gallant 
compliments that one can see they have lived 
much in the fashionable world. 

Or the idler can drop into a chair in one of 
the cafes chantants on an off day, when there is 
no regular performance, but a rehearsal, to which 
the public is neither invited nor forbidden. It 



36 ABOUT PARIS 

is an entertaining place in which to spend an 
hour or two, with something to drink in front of 
you, and a cigar, and the sun shining through 
the trees upon the mirrors and artificial flowers 
and the gaudy hangings of the stage. Here you 
will see Mile. Nicolle as she is in her moments of 
leisure. The night before she wore a greasy ging- 
ham gown, with her hair plastered over her fore- 
head in oily flat curls, as a laundress or char- 
woman of Montmartre might wear them. Now 
she is fashionably dressed in black, with white 
lace over it, and with a lace parasol, which she 
swings from her finger in time to the music, 
while the other artists of the Ambassadcurs' stand 
farther up the stage waiting their turn, or po- 
litely watch her from the front. The girl who 
chalked her face as Pierrot the evening before 
follows her in a blue boating-dress and a kick at 
the end of it, which she means to introduce later 
in the same day ; and the others comment audi- 
bly on it from their seats, calling her by her first 
name, and disagreeing with the leader of the or- 
chestra as to the particular note upon which the 
kick should come, while he turns in his seat with 
his violin on his knee and argues it out with 
them, shrugging his shoulders, and making passes 
in the air with his lighted cigarette as though it 



THE STREETS OF PARIS 



39 



were a baton. Two gendarmes, with their capes 
folded and thrown over their shoulders, come in 
and stand with the waiters, surveying the re- 
hearsal with critical disapproval, and the woman 
who collects the pennies for the iron seats in the 
avenue takes a few moments' recess, and brings 
with her two nurse-maids, with their neglected 
charges swinging by the silkxn straps around 
their silken bodies. And so they all stand at 
one side and gaze with large eyes at the breath- 
less, laughing young woman on the stage above 
them, who runs and kicks and runs back and 
kicks again, reflected many times in the back- 
ground of mirrors around her ; and then the two 
American song-and-dance men, and the English 
acrobats, and the Italian who owns the perform- 
ing dogs, and the smooth-faced French come- 
diennes, and all the idle gentlemen with glasses 
of bock before them, sit up as though some one 
had touched their shoulders with a whip, and all 
the actresses smile politely, and look with pressed 
lips and half-closed eyes at a very tall woman 
with red hair, who walks erectly down the stage 
with a roll of music in her gloved hands. This 
is Yvette Guilbert, the most artistic and the most 
improper of all the women of the caf^s chan- 
tants. She is also the most graceful. You can 



40 ABOUT PARIS 

see that even now when she is off her guard. 
She could not make an ungraceful gesture even 
after long practice, and when she shudders and 
jumps at a false note from the orchestra she is 
still graceful. 

When the rehearsal is finished you can cross 
the Place de la Concorde and hang over the 
stone parapet, and watch the Deputies coming 
over the bridge, or the men washing the dogs in 
the Seine, and shaving and trimming their tufts 
of curly hair, and twisting their mustaches into 
military jauntiness ; or you can turn your back 
to this and watch the thousands of carriages and 
cabs and omnibuses crossing the great square 
before you from the eight streets opening into it, 
with the water of the fountains in the middle 
blown into spray by the wind, and turned into 
the colors of the rainbow by the sun. This great, 
beautiful open place, even to one accustomed 
to city streets and their monuments, seems to 
change more rapidly and to form with greater 
life than any other spot in the world, and its 
great stupid obelisk in the centre appears to rise 
like a monster exclamation-point of wonder at 
what it sees about it, and with the surprise over 
all of finding itself in the centre of it. 

You cannot say you have seen the streets of 



THE STREETS OF PARIS 43 

Paris until you have walked them at sunrise; 
every one has seen them at night, but he must 
watch them change from night to day before he 
can claim to have seen them at their best. I 
walked under the arches of the Rue dc Rivoli 
one morning when it was so dark that they looked 
like the cloisters of some great monastery, and it 
was impossible to believe that the empty length 
of the Rue Cambon had but an hour before been 
blocked by the blazing front of the Olympia, 
and before that with rows of carriages in front of 
the two Columbins. There were a few belated 
cabs hugging the sidewalk, with their drivers 
asleep on the boxes, and a couple of gendarmes 
slouching together across the IMace de la Con- 
corde made the only sound of life in the whole 
city. The Seine lay as motionless as water in a 
bath-tub, and the towers of Notre Dame rising 
out of the mist at one end, and the round bulk 
of the Trocad^ro bounding it at the other, seemed 
to limit the river to what one could see of its 
silent surface from the Bridge of the Deputies. 
The Eiffel Tower, the great skeleton of the 
departed exposition, disappeared and reformed 
itself again as drifting clouds of mist swept 
through it and cut its great ugly length into 
fragments hung in mid-air. As the light grew 



44 ABOUT PARIS 

in strength the facades of the government build- 
ings grew in outline, as though one were focus- 
sing them through an opera-glass, and the pillars 
of the Madeleine took form and substance; then 
the whole great square showed itself, empty and 
deserted. The darkness had hidden nothinsr 
more terrible than the clean asphalt and the mo- 
tionless statues of the cities of France. 

A solitary fiacre passed me slowly with no one 
on the box, but with the coachman sitting back 
in his cab. He was returning to the stables, 
evidently, and had on his way given a seat to a 
girl from the street, whom he was now entertain- 
ing with genial courtesy. He had one leg thrown 
over the other, and one arm passed back along the 
top of the seat, and with the other he waved to the 
great buildings as they sprang up into life as the 
day grew. The girl beside him was smiling at 
his pleasantries, while the rising sun showed how 
tired and pale she was, and mocked at the paint 
around her sleepy eyes. The horse stumbled at 
every sixth step, and then woke again, while the 
whip rocked and rolled fantastically in its socket 
like a drunken man. From up the avenue of 
the Champs Elysees came the first of the heavy 
market-wagons, with the driver asleep on the 
bench, and his lantern burning dully in the early 



THE STREETS OF PARIS 45 

light. Back of him lay the deserted stretch of 
the avenue, strange and unfamiliar in its empti- 
ness — save for the great arch that rose against 
the dawn, and seemed, from its elevation on the 
very top of the horizon, to serve as a gateway 
into the skies beyond. The air in the Champs 
Elysees was heavy with a perfume of flowers 
and of green plants, and the leaves dripped damp 
and cool with the dew. Hundreds of birds sang 
and chattered as though they knew the solitude 
was theirs but for only one more brief hour, and 
that they then must give w^ay to the little chil- 
dren, and later to crowds of idle men and wom- 
en. It seemed impossible that but a few hours 
before Duclerc had filled these silent, cool woods 
with her voice — Duclerc, with her shoulder-straps 
slipping to her elbows and her white powdered 
arms tossing in the colored lights of the serpen- 
tine dance. The long, gaudy lithographs on the 
bill-boards and the arches of colored lamps stood 
out of the silence and fresh beauty of the hour 
like the relics of some feast which should have 
been cleared away before the dawn, and the the- 
atres themselves looked like temples to a hea- 
then idol in some primeval wood. And as I 
passed out from under the cool trees to the si- 
lent avenues I felt as though I had caught Paris 



46 ABOUT PARIS 

napping, and when she was off her guard, and 
good and fresh and sweet, and had discovered a 
hidden trait in her many-sided character, a mo- 
ment of which she would be ashamed an hour 
or two later, as cynics are ashamed of their se- 
cret acts of charity. 



II 



THE SHOW-PLACES OF PARTS 



NIGHT 




ARIS is the only city in the world 
which the visitor from the outside 
positively refuses to take seriously. 
He may have come to Paris with an 
earnest purpose to study art, or to investigate the 
intricacies of French law, or the historical changes 
of the city ; or, if it be a woman, she may have 
come to choose a trousseau ; but no matter how 
serious his purpose may be, there is always some 
one part of each day when the visitor rests from 
his labors and smiles indulgently and does as the 
Parisians do. Whether the city or the visitor is 
responsible for this, whether Paris adopts the 
visitor, or the visitor adapts himself to his sur- 
roundings, it is impossible to say. But there is 
certainly no other capital of the world in which 
the stranger so soon takes on the local color, in 
which he becomes so soon acclimated, and which 



48 ABOUT PARIS 

brings to light in him so many new and unsus- 
pected capacities for enjoyment and adventure. 

Americans go to London for social triumph or 
to float railroad shares, to Rome for art's sake, 
and to Berlin to study music and to economize; 
but they go to Paris to enjoy themselves. And 
there are no young men of any nation who enter 
into the accomplishment of this so heartily and 
so completely as docs the young American. It 
is hardly possible for the English youth to ap- 
preciate Paris perfectly, because he has been 
brought up to believe that " one Englishman 
can thrash three Frenchmen," and because he 
holds a nation that talks such an absurd lan- 
guage in some contempt ; hence he is frequently 
while there irritable and rude, and jostles men at 
the public dances, and in other ways asserts his 
dignity. 

But the American goes to Paris as though re- 
turning to his inheritance and to his own people. 
He approaches it with the friendly confidence of 
a child. Its language holds no terrors for him ; 
and he feels himself fully equipped if he can ask 
for his " edition," and say, *' Cocher, allez Hen- 
ry's tout sweet." There is nothing so joyous 
and confiding as the American during his first 
visit to the French metropolis. He has been 



THE SHOW-TLACES OF PARIS 49 

told by older men of the gay, glad days of the 
Second Empire, and by his college chum of the 
summer of the last exposition, and he enters Paris 
determined to see all that any one else has ever 
seen, and to outdo all that any one else has ever 
done, and to stir that city to its suburbs. He 
saves his time, his money, and his superfluous 
energy for this visit, and the most amusing part 
of it is that he always leaves Paris fully assured 
that he has enjoyed himself while there more 
thoroughly than any one else has ever done, and 
that the city will require two or three months' 
rest before it can readjust itself after the shock 
and wonder due to his meteoric flight through 
its limits. London he dismisses in a week as a 
place in which you can get good clothes at mod- 
erate prices, and which supports some very en- 
tertaining music-halls ; but Paris, he tells you, 
ecstatically, when he meets you on the boulevards 
or at the banker's, where he is drawing grandly 
on his letter of credit, is " the greatest place on 
earth," and he adds, as evidence of the truth of 
this, that he has not slept in three weeks. He 
is unsurpassed in his omnivorous capacity for 
sight-seeing, and in his ability to make himself 
immediately and contentedly at home. There 
is a story which illustrates this that is told by a 



50 ABOUT PARIS 

young American banker who has been Hving in 
Paris for the last six years. He met one day on 
the boulevards an old college friend of his, and 
welcomed him with pleasure. 

" You must let me be your guide," the banker 
said. " I have been here so long now that I know 
just what you ought to see, and I shall enjoy 
seeing it with you as much as though it were for 
the first time. When did you come?" The new 
arrival had reached Paris only three days before, 
and said that he was ready to see all that it had 
to show. *' You have nothing to do to-night, 
then ?" asked the banker. " Well, we will drop 
in at the gardens and the cafes chantants. There 
is nothing like them anywhere." His friend said 
he had made the tour of the gardens on the night 
of his arrival, but that he would be glad to re- 
visit them. But that being the case, the banker 
would rather take him to the cafes — " The Black 
Cat," and Bruant's, and " The Dead Rat." These 
his friend had visited on his second evening. 

*^ Oh, well, we can cross the river, then, and I 
will show you some slumming," said the banker. 
" You should see the places where the thieves go 
— the Chateau Rouge and Pere Lunette." 

"I went there last night," said the new-comer. 

The man who had lived six years in Paris took 



THE SHOW-PLACES OF PARIS 



51 



the stranger by the arm and asked him if he was 
sure he was not engaged for that evening. *' For 
if you are not," he said, ''you might take me 
with you and show me some of the sights !" 

The American visitor is not only undaunted 
by the strange language, but unimpressed by the 
signs of years of vivid history about him. He 
sandwiches a glimpse at the tomb of Napoleon, 
and a trip on a penny steamer up the Seine, and 
back again to the Morgue, with a rush through 
the Cathedral of Notre Dame, between the hours 
of his breakfast and the race-meeting at Long- 
champs the same afternoon. Nothing of present 
interest escapes him, and nothing bores him. He 
assimilates and grasps the method of Parisian ex- 
istence with a rapidity that leaves you wonder- 
ing in the rear, and at the end of a week can tell 
you that you should go to one side of the Grand 
Hotel for cigars, and to the other to have your 
hat blocked. He knows at what hour Yvette 
Guilbert comes on at the Ambassadeurs', and on 
which mornings of the week the flower-market is 
held around the Madeleine. While you are still 
hunting for apartments he has visited the sewers 
under the earth, and the Eiffel Tower over the 
earth, and eaten his dinner in a tree at Robin- 
son's, and driven a coach to Versailles over the 



52 ABOUT PARIS 

same road upon which the mob tramped to bring 
Marie Antoinette back to Paris, without being 
the least impressed by the contrast which this 
offers to his own progress. He develops also a 
daring and reckless spirit of adventure, which 
would never have found vent in his native city 
or town, or in any other foreign city or town. It 
is in the air, and he enters into the childish good- 
nature of the place and of the people after the 
same manner that the head of a family grows 
young again at his class reunion. 

One Harvard graduate arrived in Paris summer 
before last during those riots which originated 
with the students, and were carried on by the 
working-people, and which were cynically spoken 
of on the boulevards as the Revolution of Sarah 
Brown. In any other city he would have watched 
these ebullitions from the outskirts of the mob, or 
remained a passive spectator of what did not con- 
cern him, but being in Paris, and for the first time, 
he mounted a barricade, and made a stirring ad- 
dress to the students behind it in his best Har- 
vard French, and was promptly cut over the head 
by a gendarme and conveyed to a hospital, where 
he remained during his stay in the gay metroplis. 
But he still holds that Paris is the finest place 
that he has ever seen. There was another Amer- 



THE SHOW-PLACES OF PARIS 53 

ican youth who stood up suddenly in the first 
row of seats at the Nouveau Cirque and wagered 
the men with him that he would jump into the 
water with which the circus ring is flooded night- 
ly, and swim, ''accoutred as he was," to the other 
side. They promptly took him at his word, and 
the audience of French bourgeois were charmed 
by the spectacle of a young gentleman in evening 
dress swimming calmly across the tank, and clam- 
bering leisurely out on the other side. He was 
loudly applauded for this, and the management 
sent the ''American original" home in a fiacre. 
In any other city he would have been hustled by 
the ushers and handed over to the police. 

Those show-places of Paris which are seen only 
at night, and of which one hears the most fre- 
quently, are curiously few in number. It is their 
quality and not their quantity which has made 
them talked about. It is quite as possible to 
tell off on the fingers of two hands the names and 
the places to which the visitor to Paris will be 
taken as it is quite impossible to count the num- 
ber of times he will revisit them. 

In London there are so many licensed places 
of amusement that a man might visit one every 
night for a year and never enter the same place 
twice, and those of unofficial entertainment are 



54 ABOUT PARIS 

SO numerous that men spend years in London 
and never hear of nooks and corners in it as 
odd and strange as Stevenson's Suicide Club or 
Pagan's School for Thieves — public-houses where 
blind beggars regain their sight and the halt and 
lame walk and dance, music-halls where the line 
is strictly drawn between the gentleman who 
smokes a clay pipe and the one who smokes a 
brier, and arenas like the Lambeth School of 
Arms, from which boy pugilists and coal-heavers 
graduate to the prize-ring, and such thorough- 
fares as Ship's Alley, where in the space of fifty 
yards twenty murders have occurred in three 
years. 

In Paris there are virtually no slums at all. 
The dangerous classes are there, and there is an 
army of beggars and wretches as poor and brutal 
as are to be found at large in any part of the 
world, but the Parisian criminal has no environ- 
ment, no setting. He plays the part quite as 
effectively as does the London or New York 
criminal, but he has no appropriate scenery or 
mechanical effects. 

If he wishes to commit murder, he is forced to 
make the best of the well-paved, well-lighted, and 
cleanly swept avenue. He cannot choose a laby- 
rinth of alleyways and covered passages, as he 



THE SHOW-PLACES OF PARIS 55 

could were he in Whitechapel, or a net-work of 
tenements and narrow side streets, as he could 
were he in the city of New York. 

Young men who have spent a couple of weeks 
in Paris, and who have been taken slumming by- 
paid guides, may possibly question the accuracy 
of this. They saw some very awful places indeed 
— one place they remember in particular, called 
the Chateau Rouge, and another called Pcre Lu- 
nette. The reason they so particularly remember 
these two places is that these are the only two 
places any one ever sees, and they do not recall 
the fact that the neighboring houses were of 
hopeless respectability, and that they were able 
to pick up a cab within a hundred yards of these 
houses. Young Frenchmen who know all the 
worlds of Paris tell you mysteriously of these 
places, and of how they visited them disguised in 
blue smocks and guarded by detectives ; detec- 
tives themselves speak to you of them as a fisher- 
man speaks to you of a favorite rock or a deep 
hole where you can always count on finding fish, 
and every newspaper correspondent who visits 
Paris for the first time writes home of them as 
typical of Parisian low life. They are as typical 
of Parisian low life as the animals in the Zoo in 
Central Park are typical of the other animals we 



56 ABOUT PARIS 

see drawing stages and horse-cars and broughams 
on the city streets, and you require the guardian- 
ship of a detective when you visit them as much as 
you would need a poHceman in Mulberry Bend or 
at an organ recital in Carnegie Hall. They are 
show-places, or at least they have become so, and 
though they would no doubt exist without the 
aid of the tourist or the man about town of in- 
trepid spirit, they count upon him, and are pre- 
pared for him with set speeches, and are as ready 
to show him all that there is to see as are the 
guides around the Capitol at Washington. 

I should not wish to be misunderstood as say- 
ing that these are the only abodes of poverty and 
t\iQ only meeting-places for criminals in Paris, 
whicfi would of course be absurd, but they are 
the only places of such interest that the visitor 
sees. There are other places, chiefly wine-shops 
in cellars in the districts of la Glaciere, Mont- 
rouge, or la Villette, but unless an inspector of 
police leads you to them, and points out such 
and such men as thieves, you would not be able 
to distinguish any difTerence between them and 
the wine-shops and their Jiabitncs north of the 
bridges and within sound of the boulevards. 
The paternal municipality of Paris, and the 
thought it has spent in laying out the streets, 



THE SHOW-PLACES OF PARIS 57 

and the generous manner in which it has Hghted 
them, are responsible for the lack of slums. 
Houses of white stucco, and broad, cleanly 
swept boulevards with double lines of gas lamps 
and shade trees, extend, without consideration 
for the criminal, to the fortifications and be- 
yond, and the thief and bully whose interests 
are so little regarded is forced in consequence to 
hide himself underground in cellars or in the 
dark shadows of the Bois de Boulogne at night. 
This used to appeal to me as one of the most 
peculiar characteristics of Paris — that the most 
desperate poverty and the most heartless of 
crimes continued in neighborhoods notorious 
chiefly for their wickedness, and yet which were 
in appearance as well-ordered and commonplace- 
lookinof as the new model tenements in Harlem 
or the trim working-men's homes in the factory 
districts of Philadelphia. 

The Chateau Rouge w^as originally the house 
of some stately family in the time of Louis 
XIV. They will tell you there that it was one 
of the mistresses of this monarch who occupied 
it, and will point to the frescos of one room to 
show how magnificent her abode then was. This 
tradition may or may not be true, but it adds an 
interest to the house, and furnishes the dramatic 



58 ABOUT PARIS 

contrast to its present wretchedness. It is a tall 
building painted red, and set back from the 
street in a court. There are four rooms filled 
with deal tables on the first floor, and a long 
counter with the usual leaden top. Whoever 
buys a glass of wine here may sleep with his or 
her head on the table, or lie at length up-stairs 
on the floor of that room where one still sees the 
stucco cupids of the fine lady's boudoir. It is 
now a lodging-house for beggars and for those 
who collect the ends of castaway cigars and ci- 
garettes on the boulevards, and possibly for 
those who thieve in a small way. By ten o'clock 
each night the place is filled with men and 
women sleeping heavily at the tables, with their 
heads on their arms, or gathered together for 
miserable company, whispering and gossiping, 
each sipping jealously of his glass of red wine. 

There is a little room at the rear, the walls of 
which are painted with scenes of celebrated mur- 
ders, and the portraits of the murderers, of an- 
archists, and of their foes the police. A sharp- 
faced boy points to these with his cap, and 
recites his lesson in a high singsong, and in an 
argot which makes all he says quite unintelligi- 
ble. He is interesting chiefly because the men 
of whom he speaks are heroes to him, and he 



THE SHOW-PLACES OF PARIS 6l 

roars forth the name of '' Antoine, who mur- 
dered the policeman Jervois," as though he were 
saying Gambetta, the founder of the republic, 
and with the innocent confidence that you will 
share with him in his enthusiasm. The pictures 
are ghastly things, in which the artist has chiefly 
done himself honor in the generous use of scar- 
let paint for blood, and in the way he has shown 
how by rapid gradations the criminal descends 
from well-dressed innocence to ragged vicious- 
ness, until he reaches the steps of the guillotine 
at Roquette. It is a miserable chamber of hor- 
rors, in which the heavy-eyed absinthe-drinkers 
raise their heads to stare mistily at the visitor, 
and to listen for the hundredth time to the 
boy's glib explanation of each daub in the gal- 
lery around them, from the picture of the ver- 
milion-cheeked young woman who caused the 
trouble, to an imaginative picture of Montfaucon 
covered with skulls, where, many years in the 
past, criminals swung in chains. 

The cafe of Pere Lunette is just around sev^- 
eral sharp corners from the Chateau Rouge. It 
was originally presided over by an old gentle- 
man who wore spectacles, which gave his shop 
its name. It is a resort of the lowest class of 
women and men, and its walls are painted 



C.2 ABOUT PARIS 

throughout with faces and scenes a Httle better 
in execution than those in the Chateau Rouge, 
and a little worse in subject. It is a very small 
place to enjoy so wide-spread a reputation, and 
its front room is uninteresting, save for a row of 
casks resting on their sides, on the head of each 
of which is painted the portrait of some noted 
Parisian, like Zola, Eiffel, or Boulanger. The 
young proprietor fell upon us as his natural prey 
the night we visited the place, and drove us be- 
fore him into a room in the rear of the wine- 
shop. He was followed as a matter of course by 
a dozen men in blouses, and as many bareheaded 
women, who placed themselves expectantl}" at 
the deal tables, and signified what it was they 
wished to drink before going through the form 
of asking us if we meant to pay for it. They 
were as ready to do their part of the entertain- 
ment as the actors of the theatre are ready to go 
on when the curtain rises, and there was noth- 
ing about any of them to suggest that he or she 
was there for any other reason than the hope of 
a windfall in the person of a stranger who would 
supply him or her with money or liquor. A 
long-haired boy with a three days' growth of 
hair upon his chin, of whom the proprietor 
spoke proudly as a poet, recited in verse a long 



THE SHOW-PLACES OF PARIS 63 

descriptive story of what the pictures on the 
wall were intended to represent, and another 
youth, with a Vandyck beard and slouched hat, 
and curls hanging to his shoulder, sang Aristide 
Bruant's song of " Saint Lazare." All of the 
women of the place belonged to the class which 
spends many months of each year in that prison. 
The music of the song is in a minor key, and is 
strangely sad and eerie. It is the plaint of a young 
girl writing to her lover from within the walls of 
the prison, begging him to be faithful to her 
while she is gone, and Bruant cynically makes 
her designate three or four feminine friends as 
those whose society she particularly desires him 
to avoid. The women, all of whom sang with 
sodden seriousness, may not have appreciated 
how well the words of the song applied to them- 
selves, but you could imagine that they did, and 
this gave to the moment and the scene a certain 
touch of interest. Apart from this the place was 
dreary, and the pictures indecent and stupid. 

There is much more of interest in the Cafe 
of Aristide Bruant, on the l^oulevard Roche- 
chouart. Bruant is the modern Francois Villon. 
lie is the poet of the people, and more espe- 
cially of the criminal classes. He sings the virt- 
ues or the lack of virtue of the several districts 



64 ABOUT PARTS 

of Paris, with the life of which he claims an in- 
timate familiarity. He is the bard of the bully, 
and of the thief, and of the men who live on 
the earnings of women. He is unquestionably 
one of the most picturesque figures in Paris, 
but his picturesqueness is spoiled in some de- 
gree by the evident fact that he is conscious of 
it. He is a poet, but he is very much more of 
a poseur. 

Bruant began by singing his own songs in 
the cafe chantant in the Champs Elysees, and 
celebrating in them the life of Montmartre 
and the Place de la Republique, and of the 
Bastille. He has done for the Parisian bully 
what Albert Chevallier has done for the coster 
of Whitechapel, and Edward Harrigan for the 
East Side of New York, but with the important 
difference that the Frenchman claims to be one 
of the class of whom he writes, and the audac- 
ity with which he robs stray visitors to his cafe 
would seem to justify his claims. There is no 
question as to the strength in his poems, nor 
that he gives you the spirit of the places which 
he describes, and that he sees whatever is dra- 
matic and characteristic in them. But the utter 
heartlessness with which he writes of the wick- 
edness of his friends the souteneurs rings false, 



THE SHOW-PLACES OF PARIS 67 

and sounds like an affectation. One of the 
best specimens of his verse is that in which 
he tells of the Bois dc Boulogne at night, when 
the woods, he says, cloak all manner of evil 
things, and when, instead of the rustling of the 
leaves, you hear the groans of the homeless toss- 
ing in their sleep under the sky, and calls for 
help suddenly hushed, and the angry cries of 
thieves who have fallen out over their spoils 
and who fight among themselves ; or the hurried 
footsteps of a belated old gentleman hastening 
home, and followed silently in the shadow of the 
trees by men who fall upon and rob him after 
the fashion invented and perfected by le Pere 
Francois. Others of his poems are like the 
most realistic paragraphs of L Assoinnioir and 
Nana put into verse. 

Bruant himself is a young man, and an ex- 
tremely handsome one. He wears his yellow 
hair separated in the middle and combed 
smoothly back over his ears, and dresses at all 
times in brown velvet, with trousers tucked in 
high boots, and a red shirt and broad sombrero. 
He has had the compliment paid him of the 
most sincere imitation, for a young man made 
up to look exactly like him now sings his songs 
in the cafes, even the characteristically modest 



68 ABOUT PARIS 

one in which Bruant slaps his chest and exclaims 
at the end of each verse : '^ And I ? I am Bru- 
ant." The real Bruant sings every night in his 
own cafe, but as his under-study at the Ambas- 
sadeurs' is frequently mistaken for him, he may 
be said to have accomplished the rather difficult 
task of being in two places at once. 

Bruant's cafe is a little shop barred and black 
without, and guarded by a commissionnaire dress- 
ed to represent a policeman. If you desire to en- 
ter, this man raps on the door, and Bruant, when 
he is quite ready, pushes back a little panel, and 
scrutinizes the visitor through the grated open- 
ing. If he approves of you he unbars the door, 
with much jangling of chains and rasping of 
locks, and you enter a tiny shop, filled with 
three long tables, and hung with all that is ab- 
surd and fantastic in decoration, from Cheret's 
bill-posters to unframed oil-paintings, and from 
beer-mugs to plaster death-masks. There is a 
different salutation for every one who enters 
this cafe, in which all those already in the place 
join in chorus. A woman is greeted by a certain 
burst of melody, and a man by another, and a 
soldier with easy satire, as representing the gov- 
ernment, by an imitation of the fanfare which is 
blown by the trumpeters whenever the President 



THE SHOW-PLACES OF PARIS 69 

appears in public. There did not seem to be 
any greeting which exactly fitted our case, so 
Bruant waved us to a bench, and explained to 
his guests, with a shrug: "These are two gentle- 
men from the boulevards who have come to see 
the thieves of Montmartre. If they are quiet 
and well-behaved we will not rob them." After 
this somewhat discouraging reception we, in our 
innocence, sat perfectly still, and tried to think 
we w^ere enjoying ourselves, while we allowed 
ourselves to be robbed by waiters and venders 
of songs and books without daring to mi'rmuror 
protest. 

Bruant is assisted in the entertainment of his 
guests by two or three young men who sing his 
songs, the others in the room joining with them. 
Every third number is sung by the great man 
himself, swaggering up and down the narrow 
limits of the place, with his hands sunk deep in 
the pockets of his coat, and his head rolling on 
his shoulders. At the end of each verse he with- 
draws his hands, and brushes his hair back over 
his ears, and shakes it out like a mane. One of 
his perquisites as host is the privilege of saluting 
all of the women as they leave, of which privi- 
lege he avails himself when they are pretty, or 
resigns it and bows gravely when they arc not. 



70 ABOUT PARIS 

It is amusing to notice how the different women 
approach the door when it is time to go, and 
how the escort of each smiles proudly when the 
young man deigns to bend his head over the lips 
of the girl and kiss her good-night. 

The cafe of the Black Cat is much finer and 
much more pretentious than Bruant's shop, and 
is of wider fame. It is, indeed, of an entirely 
different class, but it comes in here under the 
head of the show- places of Paris at night. It 
was originally a sort of club where journalists 
and artists and poets met round the tables of 
a restaurant- keeper who happened to be a pa- 
tron of art as well, and fitted out his caf6 with 
the canvases of his customers, and adopted their 
suggestions in the arrangement of its decoration. 
The outside world of Paris heard of these gath- 
erings at the Black Cat, as the cafe and club 
were called, and of the wit and spirit of its ha- 
bitues, and sought admittance to its meetings, 
which was at first granted as a great privilege. 
But at the present day the cafe has been turned 
over into other hands, and is a show-place pure 
and simple, and a most interesting one. The 
cafe proper is fitted throughout with heavy black 
oak, or something in imitation of it. There are 
heavy broad tables and high wainscoting and an 



THE SHOW-PLACES OF PARIS 73 

immense fireplace and massive rafters. To set 
off the sombreness of this, the walls are covered 
with panels in the richest of colors, by Steinlen, 
the most imaginative and original of the Parisian 
illustrators, in all of which the black cat appears 
as a subject, but in a different role and with sep- 
arate treatment. Upon one panel hundreds of 
black cats race over the ocean, in another they 
are waltzing with naiads in the woods, and in 
another they are whirling through space over 
red - tiled roofs, followed by beautiful young 
women, gendarmes, and boulevardiers in hot 
pursuit. And in every other part of the cafe 
the black cat appears as frequently as did the 
head of Charles I. in the writings of Mr. Dick. 
It stalks stuffed in its natural skin, or carved in 
wood, with round glass eyes and long red tongue, 
or it perches upon the chimney-piece wMth back 
arched and tail erect, peering down from among 
the pewter pots and salvers. The gas-jets shoot 
from the mouths of wrought-iron cats, and the 
dismembered heads of others grin out into the 
night from the stained-glass windows. The room 
shows the struggle for what is odd and bizarre, but 
the drawings in black and white and the water- 
colors and oil-paintings on the walls are signed by 
some of the cleverest artists in Paris. The inscrip- 



74 ABOUT PARIS 

tions and rules and regulations are as odd as the 
decorations. As, for example, the one placed half- 
way up the narrow flight of stairs which leads to 
the tiny theatre, and which commemorates the 
fact that the cafe was on such a night visited by 
President Carnot, who — so the inscription adds, 
lest the visitor should suppose the Black Cat 
was at all impressed by the honor — " is the suc- 
cessor of Charlemagne and Napoleon I." An- 
other fancy of the Black Cat was at one time to 
dress all the waiters in the green coat and gold 
olive leaves of the members of the Institute, to 
show how little the poets and artists of the cafe 
thought of the other artists and poets who be- 
longed to that ancient institution across the 
bridges. But this has now been given up, either 
because the uniforms proved too expensive, or 
because some one of the Black Cat's Jiabitncs 
had left his friends "■ for a ribbon to wear in his 
coat," and so spoiled the satire. 

Three times a week there is a performance in 
the theatre up-stairs, at which poets of the neigh- 
borhood recite their own verses, and some clever 
individual tells a story, with a stereopticon and a 
caste of pasteboard actors for accessories. These 
latter little plays are very clever and well ar- 
ranged, and as nearly proper as a Frenchman 



THE SHOW-PLACES OF PARIS 75 

with such a temptation to be otherwise could be 
expected to make them. It is a most informal 
gathering, more like a performance in a private 
house than a theatre, and the most curious thing 
about it is the character of the audience, which, 
instead of being bohemian and artistic, is com- 
posed chiefly of worthy bourgeoisie, and young 
men and young women properly chaperoned by 
the parents of each. They sit on very stiff wood- 
en chairs, while a young man stands on the floor 
in front of them with his arms comfortably fold- 
ed and recites a poem or a monologue, or plays a 
composition of his own. And then the lights are 
all put out, and a tiny curtain is rung up, show- 
ing a square hole in the proscenium, covered w ith 
a curtain of white linen. On this are thrown 
the shadows of the pasteboard figures, who do 
the most remarkable things with a naturalness 
which might well shame some living actors. 

It would be impossible to write of the enter- 
tainment Paris affords at night without cata- 
loguing the open-air concerts and the public gar- 
dens and dance -halls. The best of the cafes 
chantants in Paris is the Ambassadeurs'. There 
are many others, but the Ambassadeurs' is the 
best know^n, is nearest to the boulevards, and has 
the best restaurant. It is like all the rest in its 



76 ABOUT PARIS 

general arrangement, or all the others copy it, so 
that what is true of the Ambassadeurs' may be 
considered as descriptive of them all. 

The Ambassadeurs' is a roof -garden on the 
ground, except that there are comfortable bench- 
es instead of tables with chairs about them, and 
that there is gravel underfoot in place of wooden 
flooring. Lining the block of benches on either 
side are rows of boxes, and at the extreme rear 
is the restaurant, with a wide balcony, where 
people sit and dine, and listen to the music of 
the songs without running any risk of hearing 
the words. The stage is shut in with mirrors 
and set with artificial flowers, which make a bad 
background for the artists, and which at mati- 
nees, in the broad sunlight, look very ghastly in- 
deed. But at night, when all the gas-jets are lit 
and the place is crowded, it is very gay, joyous, 
and pretty. 

The Parisian may economize in household mat 
ters, in the question of another egg for his break 
fast, and in the turning of an uneaten entree into 
a soup, but in public he is most generous ; and he 
is in nothing so generous as in his reckless use of 
gas. He raises ten lamp-posts to every one that 
is put up in London or New York, and he does 
not plant them only to light some thing or some 



THE SHOW-PLACES OF PARIS 79 

person, but because they are pleasing to look at 
in themselves. It is difficult to feel gloomy in a 
city which is so genuinely illuminated that one 
can sit in the third-story window of a hotel and 
read a newspaper by the glare of the gas-lamps 
in the street below. This is a very wise gener- 
osity, for it helps to attract people to Paris, who 
spend money there, so that in the end the light- 
ing of the city may be said to pay for itself. If 
we had as good government in New York as there 
is in Paris, Madison Square would not depend for 
its brilliancy at night on the illuminated adver- 
tising of two business firms. 

Individuals follow the municipality of Paris in 
this extravagance, and the Ambassadeurs' is in 
consequence as brilliant as many rows of gas- 
jets can make it, and these globes of white light 
among the green branches of the trees are one 
of the prettiest effects on the Champs Elysees at 
night. They do not turn night into day, but 
they make the darkness itself more attractive by 
contrast. The performers at the Ambassadeurs' 
are the best in their line of work, and the audi- 
ences are composed of what in London would be 
called the middle class, mixed with cocottes and 
boulevardiers. V^ou will also often see American 
men and women who are well known at home 



8o ABOUT PARIS 

dining there on the balcony, but they do not 
bring young girls with them. 

It is interesting to note what pleases French 
people of the class who gather at these open-air 
concerts. What is artistic they seem to appre- 
ciate much more fully than would an American 
or an English audience — at least, they are more 
demonstrative in their applause ; but the contra- 
dictory feature of their appreciation lies in their 
delight and boisterous enthusiasm, not only over 
what is very good, but also over what is most 
childish horse-play. They enjoy with equal zest 
the quiet, inimitable character studies of Nicolle 
and the efforts of two trained dogs to play upon 
a fiddle, while a hideous, gaunt creature, six foot 
tall, in a woman's ballet costume, throws them 
off their chairs in convulsions of delight. They 
are like children with a mature sense of the artis- 
tic, and still with an infantile delight in what is 
merely noisy and absurd. 

It is also interesting to note how much these 
audiences will permit from the stage in the di- 
rection of suggestiveness, and what would be 
called elsewhere " outraged propriety." This is 
furnished them to the highest degree by Yvette 
Guilbert. It seems that as this artist became 
less of a novelty, she recognized that it w^ould be 



THE SHOW-PLACES OF PARIS 8 1 

necessary for her to increase the audacity of her 
songs if she meant to hold her original place in 
the interest of her audiences, and she has now 
reached a point in daring which seems hardly 
possible for her or any one else to pass. No one 
can help delighting in her and in her line of 
work, in her subtlety, her grace, and the abso- 
lute knowledge she possesses of what she wants 
to do and how to do it. But her songs arc be- 
yond anything that one finds in the most impos- 
sible of French novels or among the legends of 
the Viennese illustrated papers. These latter 
may treat of certain subjects in a too realistic or 
in a scoffing but amusing manner, but Guilbert 
talks of things which are limited generally to 
the clinique of a hospital and the blagjie of med- 
ical students ; things which are neither funny, 
witty, nor quaint, but simply nasty and offensive. 
The French audiences of the open-air concerts, 
however, enjoy these, and encore her six times 
nightly. At Pastor's Theatre last year a French 
girl sang a song which probably not one out of 
three hundred in the audience understood, but 
which she delivered with such appropriateness of 
gesture as to make her meaning plain. When 
she left the stage there was absolute silence in 
the house, and in the wings the horrified man- 

6 



82 ABOUT PARIS 

ager seized her by the arms, and in spite of her 
protests refused to allow her to reappear. So 
her performance in this country was limited to 
that one song. It was a very long trip to take 
for such a disappointment, and the management 
were, of course, to blame for not knowing what 
they wanted and what their audiences did not 
want, but the incident is interesting as showing 
how widely an American and a French audience 
differs in matters of this sort. 

There was another Frenchwoman who ap- 
peared in New York last winter, named Duclerc. 
She is a very beautiful woman, and very popular 
in Paris, and I used to think her amusing at the 
Ambassadeurs', where she appealed to a sympa- 
thetic audience ; but in a New York theatre she 
gave you a sense of personal responsibility that 
sent cold shivers down your back, and you lacked 
the courage to applaud, when even the gallery 
looked on with sullen disapproval. And when 
the Irish comedian who followed her said that he 
did not understand her song, but that she was 
quite right to sing it under an umbrella, there 
was a roar of relief from the audience which 
showed it wanted some one to express its senti- 
ments, which it had been too polite to do except 
in silence. This tolerance impressed me very 



_j V^-\ ^ 'ii ?^ wiS:*, ill;' 'a-. 1 1 




THE SHOW-PLACES OF PARIS 85 

much, especially because I had seen the same 
woman suffer at the hands of her own people, 
whom she had chanced to offend. The incident 
is interesting, perhaps, as showing that the French 
have at times not only the child's quick delight, 
but also the cruelty of a child, than which there 
is nothing more unreasoning and nothing more 
savage. 

One night at the Ambassadeurs', when Duclerc 
had finished the first verse of her song, a man 
rose suddenly in the front row of seats and in- 
sulted her. Had he used the same words in any 
American or English theatre, he would have been 
hit over the head by the member of the orches- 
tra nearest him, and then thrown out of the the- 
atre into the street. It appeared from this man's 
remarks that the actress had formerly cared for 
him, but that she had ceased to do so, and that 
he had come there that night to show her how 
well he could stand such treatment. He did this 
by bringing another woman with him, and by 
placing a dozen bullies from'Montmartre among 
the audience to hiss the actress when she ap- 
peared. This they did with a rare good -will, 
while the rejected suitor in the front row con- 
tinued to insult her, assisted at the same time by 
his feminine companion. No one in the audi- 



86 ABOUT PARIS 

ence seemed to heed this, or to look upon it as 
unfair to himself or to the actress, who was be- 
coming visibly hysterical. There was a piece of 
wood lying on the stage that had been used in 
a previous act, and Duclerc, in a frenzy at a 
word which the man finally called to her, sud- 
denly stooped, and, picking this up, hurled it 
at him. In an instant the entire audience was 
on its feet. This last was an insult to itself. As 
long as it was Duclerc who was being attacked, 
it did not feel nor show any responsibility, but 
when she dared to hurl sticks of wood at the 
face of a Parisian audience, it rose in its might 
and shouted its indignation. Under the cover 
of this confusion the hired bullies stooped, and, 
scooping up handfuls of the gravel with which 
the place is strewn, hurled them at Duclerc, un- 
til the stones rattled around her on the stage 
like a fall of hail. She showed herself a very 
plucky woman, and continued her song, even 
though you could see her face growing white 
beneath the rouge, and her legs twisting and 
sinking under her when she tried to dance. It 
was an awful scene, breaking so suddenly into 
the easy programme of the evening, and one of 
the most cowardly and unmanly exhibitions that 
I have ever witnessed. There did not seem to 



THE SHOW-PLACES OF PARIS Sy 

be a man in the place who was not standing up 
and yelling "A bas Duclerc !" and the groans 
and hisses and abuse were like the worst efforts 
of a mob. Of course the stones did not hurt the 
woman, but the insult of being stoned did. They 
put an end to her misery at last by ringing down 
the curtain, and they said at the stage door after- 
wards that she had been taken home in a fit. 

When I saw her a few months later at Pastor's, 
I was thankful that, as a people, our self-respect 
is not so easily hurt as to make us revenge a 
slight upon it by throwing stones at a woman. 
Of course a Frenchman might say that it is not 
fair to judge the Parisians by the audience of a 
music-hall, but there were several ladies of title 
and gentlemen of both worlds in the audience, 
who a few months later assailed Jane Harding 
when she appeared as Phryne in the Opera Co- 
mique with exactly the same violence and for as 
little cause. These outbursts are only temporary 
aberrations, however ; as one of the attendants of 
the Ambassadeurs' said, " To-morrow they will 
applaud her the more to make up for it," which 
they probably did. It is in the same spirit that 
they change the names of streets, and pull down 
columns only to rebuild them again, until it 
would seem a wise plan for them, as one Eng- 



88 ABOUT PARIS 

lishman suggested, to put the Column of Ven- 
dome on a hinge, so that it could be raised and 
lowered with less trouble. 

Of the public gardens and dance-halls there 
are a great number, and the men who have vis- 
ited Paris do not have to be told much concern- 
ing them, and the women obtain a sufficiently 
correct idea of what they are like from the pho- 
tographs along the Rue de Rivoli to prevent 
their wishing to learn more. What these gar- 
dens were in the days of the Second Empire, 
when the Jardin Mabille and the Bal Bullier were 
celebrated through books and illustrations, and 
by word of mouth by every English and Amer- 
ican traveller who had visited them, it is now 
difificult to say. It may be that they were the 
scenes of mad abandon and fascinating frenzy, of 
which the last generation wrote with mock horror 
and with suggestive smiles, and of which its mem- 
bers now speak with a sigh of regret. But we 
are always ready to doubt whether that which 
has passed away, and which in consequence we 
cannot see, was as remarkable as it is made to 
appear. We depreciate it in order to console 
ourselves. And if the Mabille and the Bullier 
were no more wickedly attractive in those days 
than is the Moulin Rouge which has taken their 




SOME YOUNG PEOPLE OF MONTMARTRE 



THE SHOW-PLACES OF PARIS 91 

place under the Republic, we cannot but feel 
that the men of the last generation visited Paris 
when they were very young. Perhaps it is true 
that Paris was more careless and happy then. 
It can easily be argued so, for there was more 
money spent under the Empire, and more money 
given away in fetes and in spectacles and in pub- 
lic pleasures, and the Parisian in those days had 
no responsibility. Now that he has a voice and 
a vote, and is the equal of his President, he de- 
votes himself to those things which did not con- 
cern him at all in the earlier times. Then the 
Emperor and his ministers felt the responsibility, 
and asked of him only that he should enjoy 
himself. 

But whatever may have been true of the spirit 
of Paris then, the man who visits it to-day ex- 
pecting to see Leech's illustrations and Mark 
Twain's description of the Mabille reproduced 
in the Jardin de Paris and the Moulin Rouge 
will be disappointed. He will, on the contrary, 
find a great deal of light and some very good 
music, and a mixed crowd composed chiefly of 
young women and Frenchmen well advanced in 
.years and English and American tourists. The 
young women have all the charm that only 
a Frenchwoman possesses, and parade quietly 



92 ABOUT PARIS 

below the boxes, and before the rows of seats 
that stretch around the hall or the garden, as it 
happens to be, and are much better behaved 
and infinitely more self-respecting and attractive 
in appearance than the women of their class in 
London or New York. But there are no stu- 
dents nor grisettes to kick off high hats and to 
dance in an ecstasy of abandon. There are in 
their places from four to a dozen ugly women 
and shamefaced-looking men, who are hired to 
dance, and who go sadly through the figures of 
the quadrille, while one of the women after an- 
other shows how high she can kick, and from 
what a height she can fall on the asphalt, and do 
what in the language of acrobats is called a 
"• split ;" there is no other name for it. It is not 
an edifying nor thrilling spectacle. 

The most notorious of these dance-halls is the 
Moulin Rouge. You must have noticed when 
journeying through France the great windmills 
that stand against the sky-line on so many hill- 
tops. They are a picturesque and typical feat- 
ure of the landscape, and seem to signify the 
honest industry and primitiveness of the French 
people of the provinces. And as the great arms 
turn in the wind you can imagine you can hear 
the sound of the mill-wheel clacking while the 



THE SHOW-PLACES OF PARIS 95 

wheels inside grind out the flour that is to give 
Hfe and health. And so when you see the great 
Red Mill turn high up where four streets meet 
on the side of Montmartre, and know its pur- 
pose, you are impressed with the grim contrast 
of its past uses and its present notoriety. An 
imaginative person could not fail to be im- 
pressed by the sight of the Moulin Rouge at 
night. It glows like a furnace, and the glare 
from its lamps reddens the sky and lights up the 
surrounding streets and cafes and the faces of 
the people passing like a conflagration. The 
mill is red, the thatched roof is red, the arms are 
picked out in electric lights in red globes, and 
arches of red lamp - shades rise on every side 
against the blackness of the night. Young men 
and women are fed into the blazing doors of the 
mill nightly, and the great arms, as they turn un- 
ceasingly and noisily in a fiery circle through the 
air, seem to tell of the wheels within that are 
grinding out the life and the health and souls of 
these young people of Montmartre. 

If you have visited many of the places touched 
upon in this article in the same night, you will 
find yourself caught in the act by the early sun- 
light, and as it will then be too late to go to bed, 
you can do nothing better than turn your steps 



96 ABOUT PARIS 

towards the Madeleine. There you may find the 
market -people taking the flowers out of the 
black canvas wagons and putting up the tem- 
porary booths, while the sidewalk is hidden with 
a mass of roses in their white paper cornucopias 
and the dark, damp green of palms and ferns. 

It will be well worth your while to go on 
through the silent streets from this market of 
flowers to the market of food in the Halles Cen- 
trales, where there are strawberry patches stretch- 
ing for a block, and bounded by acres of radishes 
or acres of mushrooms, and by queer fruits from 
as far south as Algiers and Tunis, just arrived 
from Marseilles on the train, and green pease and 
carrots from no greater a distance than just be- 
yond the fortifications. It is the only spot in 
the city where many people are awake. Every- 
body is awake here, bustling and laughing and 
scolding — porters with brass badges on their 
sleeves carrying great piles of vegetables, and 
plump market-women in white sleeves and 
caps, and drivers in blue blouses smacking their 
lips over their hot coffee after their long ride 
through the night. It is like a great exposi- 
tion building of food exhibits, with the differ- 
ence that all of these exhibits are to be scattered 
and arc to disappear on the breakfast-tables of 



THE SHOW-PLACES OF PARIS 97 

Paris that same morning. Loud-voiced gentle- 
men are auctioneering off whole crops of pota- 
toes, a sidewalk at a time, or a small riverful of 
fish with a single clap of the hands ; live lobsters 
and great turtles crawl and squirm on marble 
slabs, and vistas of red meat stretch on iron 
hooks from one street corner to the next. 

You are, and feel that you are, a drone in this 
busy place, and salute with a sense of guilty 
companionship the groups of men and girls in 
dinner dress who have been up all night, and 
who come singing and chaffing in their open 
carriages in search of coffee and a box of straw- 
berries, or a bunch of cold, crisp radishes with 
the dew still on them, which they buy from a 
virtuous matron of grim and disapproving coun- 
tenance at a price which throws a lurid light 
on the profits of Bignon's and Laurent's. 

And then you become conscious of your even- 
ing dress and generally dissolute and out-of-place 
air, and hurry home through the bright sunlight 
to put out your sputtering candle and to creep 
shamefacedly to bed. 



Ill 



PARTS IN MOURNING 




HE news of the assassina- 
tion of President Carnot 
at Lyons reached Paris 
and the Cafe de la Paix at 
ten o'clock on Sunday night. 
What is told at the Cafe de la 
Paix is not long in traversing 
the length of the boulevards, 
and in crossing the Place de 
la Concorde to the cafes chan- 
tants and the public gardens 
in the Champs Elysees, so 
that by eleven o'clock on the 
night of the 24th of June '' all 
Paris " was acquainted with 
the fact that the President of 
the Republic had been cruelly 
murdered. 

There are many people in 
America who remember the 



PARIS IN MOURNING 99 

night when President Garfield died, and how, 
when his death was announced from the stage 
of the different theatres, the audience in each 
theatre rose silently as one man and walked qui- 
etly out. To them the President's death was not 
unexpected; it did not stun them, it came with 
no sudden shock, but it was not necessary to an- 
nounce to them that the performance for that 
evening was at an end. They did not leave be- 
cause the manager had rung down the curtain, 
but because at such a time they felt more at ease 
with themselves outside of a place of amusement 
than in one. 

This was not the feeling of the Parisians when 
President Carnot died. On that night no lights 
were put out in the cafes ; no leader's baton 
rapped for a sudden silence in the Jardin de 
Paris, and the Parisians continued to drink their 
bock and to dance, or to watch others dance, 
even though they knew that at that same mo- 
ment Madame Carnot in a special train was hur- 
rying through the night to reach the death-bed 
of her husband. It is never possible to tell 
which way the French people will jump, or how 
they will act at a crisis. They have no prece- 
dents of conduct ; they are as likely to do the 
characteristic thing, which in itself is different 



lOO ABOUT PARIS 

from what people of any other nation would do 
under like circumstances, as the uncharacteristic 
thing, which is even more unexpected. They 
complicate history by behaving with perfect 
tranquillity when other people would become 
excited, and by losing their heads when there is 
no occasion for it. As the Yale captain said of 
the Princeton team, " They keep you guessing." 
So wdien I was convinced by the morning 
papers, after the first shock of unbelief, that the 
President of France was dead, I walked out into 
the streets to see what sign there would be of it 
in Paris. I argued that in a city given to dem- 
onstrations the feelings of the people would take 
some actual and visible form ; that there would 
be meetings in the street, rioting perhaps in the 
Italian quarter, and extraordinary expressions of 
grief in the shape of crepe and mourning. But 
the people were as undisturbed and tranquil as 
the sun ; the same men were sitting at the same 
round tables ; the same women were shopping in 
the Rue de la Paix, and but for an increased 
energy on the part of the newsboys there was no 
sign that a good man had died, that one who 
had harmed no one had himself been cruelly 
harmed, and that the highest office of the state 
was vacant. 



PARIS IN MOURNING lo! 

When I complained of this to Parisians, or 
to those who were Parisians by choice and not 
by birth, they explained it by saying that the 
people were stunned. " They are too shocked 
to act. It is a horror without a precedent," they 
said ; but it struck me that they were an inor- 
dinately long time in recovering from the blow. 
At one o'clock on Monday morning a workman 
crawled out upon the roof of the Invalides, and, 
gathering the tricolored flag in his arms, tied a 
wisp of crepe about it. The flags in the Cham- 
ber of Deputies and in the War Office were draped 
in the same manner, and with these three ex- 
ceptions I saw no other visible sign of mourning 
in all Paris. On Monday night those theatres 
subsidized by the government, and some others, 
but not all, were closed for that evening. At 
three o'clock on Tuesday, two days after the 
death of the President, I counted but three flags 
draped with crepe on the boulevards ; but on 
the day following all the shops on the Rue de 
la Paix and the hotels on the Rue de Rivoli put 
out flags covered with mourning, and so adver- 
tised themselves and their grief. It is interest- 
ing to remember that the most generous display 
of crepe in Paris was made by an English firm of 
ladies' tailors. During this time the correspond- 



I02 ABOUT PARIS 

ents were cabling of the grief and rage of the 
Parisians to sympathetic peoples all over the 
world ; and we, in our turn, were reading in 
Paris the telegrams of condolence and the reso- 
lutions of sympathy from as different sources as 
the Parliament of Cape Town and the Congress 
of the United States. What effect the reading 
of these sincere and honest words had upon the 
people of Paris I do not know, but I could not 
at the time conceive of their reading them with- 
out blushing. I looked up from the paper which 
gave Lord Rosebery's speech, and the brotherly 
words which came from little colonies in the 
Pacific, from barbarous monarchs, and from wid- 
ows to Madame Carnot, and from corporations, 
Emperors, and Presidents to the city of Paris, 
and saw nothing in the countenances of the 
Parisians at the table next to mine but smiles of 
gratification at the importance that they had so 
suddenly attained in the eyes of the whole world. 
It was also interesting to note by the Paris 
papers how the French valued the expressions of 
sympathy which poured in upon them. The fact 
that both Houses in the United States had ad- 
journed to do honor to the memory of M. Carnot 
was not in their minds of as much importance as 
was the telegram from the Czar of Russia, which 









1 




AT THE JARDIN DE I'ARIS 



PARIS IN MOURNING I05 

was given the most important place in every 
paper. It was followed almost invariably by the 
message from the German Emperor, whose tele- 
gram, it is also interesting to remember, was the 
second one to reach Paris after the death of the 
President was announced. When one reads a 
congratulatory telegram from the German Em- 
peror on the result of the Cambridge- Oxford 
boat-race, and another of condolence to the King 
of Greece in reference to an earthquake, and 
then this one to the French people, it really 
seems as though the young ruler did not mean 
that any event of importance should take place 
anywhere without his having something to say 
concerning it. But this last telegram was well 
timed, and the line which said that M. Carnot 
had died like a soldier at his post was well 
chosen to please the French love of things mili- 
tary, and please them it did, as the Emperor 
knew that it would. But the condolence from 
the sister republic across the sea was printed at 
the end of the column, after those from Bulgaria 
and Switzerland. In the eyes of the Parisian 
news editor, the sympathy of the people of a 
great nation was not so important to his readers 
as the few words from an Emperor to whom 
they looked for help in time of war. 



Io6 ABOUT PARIS 

This was not probably true of the whole of 
France, but it was true of the Parisians. Two 
years from now Carnot's assassination will have 
become history, and will impress them much 
more than it did at the time of his death. The 
next Salon will be filled with the apotheosis of 
Carnot, with his portrait and with pictures of his 
murder, and of France in mourning laying a 
wreath upon his tomb. His son will find quick 
promotion in the army, and may possibly aspire 
to Presidential honors, or threaten the safety of 
the republic with a military dictatorship. It 
sounds absurd now, but it is quite possible in a 
country where General Dodds at once became 
a dangerous Presidential possibility because he 
had conquered the Dahomans in the swamps of 
Africa. 

Where the French will place Carnot in their 
history, and how they will reverence his mem- 
ory, the next few years will show ; but it is a 
fact that at the time of his death they treated 
him with scant consideration, and were much 
more impressed with the effect which their loss 
made upon others than with what it meant to 
them. It is not a pleasant thing to write about, 
nor is it the point of view that was taken at the 
time, but in writing of facts it is more interest- 



PARIS IN MOURNING 107 

ing to report things as they happened than as 
they should have happened. 

It is also true that those Parisians who could 
decently make a little money out of the nation's 
loss went about doing so with an avidity that 
showed a thrifty mind. Almost every one who 
had windows or balconies facing the line of the 
funeral procession offered them for rent, and ad- 
vertised them vigorously by placards and through 
the papers ; venders of knots of crepe and em- 
blems of mourning filled the streets with their 
cries. Portraits of Carnot in heavy black were 
hawked about by the same men who weeks be- 
fore had sold ridiculous figures of him taking off 
his hat and bowing to an imaginary audience ; 
the great shops removed their summer costumes 
from the windows and put stacks of flags bound 
with crepe in their place ; the flower-shops lined 
the sidewalks with specimens of their work in 
mourning-wreaths; and the papers, after their first 
expression of grief, proceeded to actively discuss 
Carnot's successor,quoting the popularity ofdiffer- 
ent candidates by giving the betting odds for and 
against them, as they had done the week before, 
when the horses were entered for the Grand Prix. 
This was three days after Carnot's death, and 
while he was still lying unburied at the £lys^e. 



I08 ABOUT PARIS 

The French constitution provides that in 
such an event as that of 1893 the National As- 
sembly shall be convened immediately to select 
a new President. According to this the Presi- 
dent of the Senate, in his capacity as President 
of the National Assembly, decided that the two 
Chambers should convene for that purpose at 
Versailles on Wednesday, June 27th, at one 
o'clock. This certainly seemed to promise a 
scene of unusual activity, and perhaps historical 
importance. I knew what the election of a Pres- 
ident meant to us at home, and I argued that if 
the less excitable Americans could work them- 
selves up into such a state of frenzy that they 
blocked the traffic of every great city, and red- 
dened the sky with bonfires from Boston to San 
Francisco, the Frenchman's ecstasy of excite- 
ment would be a spectacle of momentous inter- 
est. This seemed to be all the more probable 
because to the American an election means a 
new Executive but for the next four years, while 
tg the Frenchman the new state of affairs that 
threatened him would extend for seven. Young 
Howlett had a vacant place on the top of his 
public coach, and was just turning the corner as 
I came out of the hotel ; so I went out with him, 
and looked anxiously down on each side to see 



PARIS IN MOURNING III 

the hurrying crowds pushing forward to the pal- 
ace in the suburbs ; and when I found that all 
roads did not lead to Versailles that day, I de- 
cided that it must be because we were on the 
wrong one, which would eventually lead us some- 
where else. 

It did not seem possible that the Parisians 
would feel so little interest as to who their 
new President might be that they would remain 
quietly in Paris while he was being elected on its 
outskirts. I expected to see them trooping out 
along the seven -mile road to Versailles in as 
great numbers as when they went there once 
before to bring a Queen back to Paris. But 
when we drove into Versailles the coach rattled 
through empty streets. There were no proces- 
sions of cheering men in white hats tramping to 
the music of " Marching through Georgia." No 
red, white, and blue umbrellas, no sky-rocket 
yells, no dangling badges with gold fringe, noth- 
ing that makes a Presidential convention in 
Chicago the sight of a lifetime. No one was 
shouting the name of his political club or his 
political favorite ; no one had his handkerchief 
tucked inside his collar and a palm leaf in his 
hand; there were no brass -bands, no banners, 
and not even beer. Nor was there any of the 



IT2 ABOUT PARIS 

excitement which surrounds the election of even 
a Parliamentary candidate in England. I saw 
no long line of sandwich-men tramping in each 
gutter, no violent Radicals hustling equally 
elated Conservatives, and crying, " Good old 
Smith !" or " Good old Brown !" no women with 
primrose badges stuck to their persons making 
speeches or soliciting votes from the back of 
dog-carts. And nobody was engaged in throw- 
ing kippered herring or blacking the eyes of any- 
body else. Versailles was as unmoved as the 
statues in her public squares. Her broad, hos- 
pitable streets lay cool and quiet in the reflec- 
tion of her yellow house- fronts, and under the 
heavy shadows of the double rows of elms the 
round, flat cobble-stones, unsoiled by hurrying 
footsteps, were as clean and regular as a pan of 
biscuit ready for the oven. 

There were about six hundred Deputies in the 
town, who had not been there the day before, 
and who would leave it before the sun set that 
evening, but they bore themselves so modestly 
that their presence could not disturb the sleepy, 
sunny beauty of the grand old gardens and of 
the silent thoroughfares, and when we rattled up 
to the Hotel des Reservoirs at one o'clock we 
made more of a disturbance with the coach-horn 



PARIS IN MOURNING II3 

than had the arrival of both Chambers of Depu- 
ties. These gentlemen were at dejeuner when 
we arrived, and eating and drinking as leisurely 
and good-naturedly as though they had nothing 
in hand of more importance than a few calls to 
make or a game of cards at the club. Indeed, it 
looked much more as though Versailles had been 
invaded by a huge wedding-party than by a con- 
vention of Presidential electors. Some of the 
Deputies had brought their wives with them, 
and few as they were, they leavened and enliv- 
ened the group of black coats as the same num- 
ber of women of no other nation could have done, 
and the men came from different tables to speak 
to them, to drink their health, and to pay them 
pretty compliments ; and the good fellows of 
the two Chambers hustled about like so many 
maitres d'hotel seeing that such a one had a 
place at the crowded tables, that the salad of 
this one was being properly dressed, and that 
another had a match for his cigarette. 

Besides the Deputies, there were a half-dozen 
young and old Parisians — those who make it a 
point to see everything and to be seen every- 
where. They would have attended quite as will- 
ingly a fete of flowers, or a prize-fight between 
two English jockeys at Longchamps, and at 



114 ABOUT PARIS 

either place they would have been as complete- 
ly at home. They were typical Parisians of the 
highest world, to whom even the selection of a 
President for all France was not without its in- 
terest. With them were the diplomats, who were 
pretending to take the change of executive seri- 
ously, as representatives of the powers, but who 
were really whispering that it would probably 
bring back the leadership of the fashionable 
world to the Elysee, where it should be, and 
that it meant the reappearance of many royalist 
families in society, and the inauguration of mag- 
nificent functions, and the reopening of ball- 
rooms long unused. 

It was throughout a pretty, lazy, well-bred 
scene. Outside the entrance to the hotel, coach- 
men with the cockades of the different embassies 
in their hats were standing at ease in their shirt- 
sleeves, and with their pipes between their teeth; 
and the gentlemen, having finished their break- 
fast, strolled out into the court-yard and watched 
the hostlers rubbing down the coach-horses, or 
walked up the hill to the palace, where the boy 
sentries were hugging their guns, and waving 
back the few surprised tourists who had come to 
look at the pictures in the historical gallery, and 
who did not know that the palace on that day 




TO BRING A QUEEN BACK TO PARIS 



PARIS IN MOURNING 



117 



was being used for the prologue of a new histor- 
ical play. 

At the gates leading to the great Court of 
Honor there were possibly two hundred people 
in all. They came from the neighboring streets, 
and not from Paris. None of these people spoke 
in tones louder than those of ordinary converse, 
and they speculated with indolent interest as to 
the outcome of the afternoon's voting. A young 
man in a brown straw hat found an objection to 
Casimir-Perier as a candidate because he was so 
rich, but he withdrew his objection when an old- 
er man in a blouse pointed out that Casimir- 
Perier would make an excellent appearance on 
horseback. 

^' The President of France," he said, '' must be 
a man who can look well on a horse ;" and the 
crowd of old women in white caps, and boy sol- 
diers with their hands on their baggy red breech- 
es, from the barracks across the square, nodded 
their heads approvingly. It was a most interest- 
ing sight when compared with the anxious, howl- 
ing mob that surrounds the building in which a 
Presidential convention is being held at home. 

It is also interesting to remember that a spe- 
cial telephone wire was placed in the Chamber 
at Versailles in order that the news of the elec- 



Il8 ABOUT PARIS 

tion might be communicated to the newspaper 
offices in Paris, and that this piece of enter- 
prise was considered so remarkable that it was 
commented upon by the entire newspaper press 
of that city. In Chicago, at the time of the 
last Presidential convention, when a nomination 
merely and not an election was taking place, 
the interest of the people justified the West- 
ern Union Telegraph Company in sending out 
fifteen million words from the building during 
the three days of the convention. Wires ran 
from it directly to the offices of all the principal 
newspapers from San Francisco to Boston, and 
in Chicago itself there were two hundred extra 
operators, and relays of horsemen galloping con- 
tinually with " copy " from the convention to the 
main offices of the different telegraph companies. 
This merely shows a difference of tempera- 
ment : the American likes to know what has 
happened while it is hot, and to know all that 
has happened. The European and the Parisian, 
on this occasion at least, was content to wait at 
a cafe in ease and comfort until he was told the 
result. He did not feel that he could change 
that result in any way by going out to Versailles 
in the hot sun and cheering his candidate from 
the outside of an iron fence. 



PARIS IN MOURNING II9 

At the gate of the Place d'Armes there was a 
crowd of fifty people, watched by a few hundred 
more from under the shade of the trees and the 
awnings of the restaurants around the square. 
The dust rose in little eddies, and swept across 
the square in yellow clouds, and the people 
turned their backs to it and shrugged their 
shoulders and waited patiently. Inside of the 
Court of Honor a single line of lancers stood at 
their horses' heads, their brass helmets flashing 
like the signals of a dozen heliographs. Offi- 
cers with cigarettes and heavily braided sleeves 
strolled up and down, and took themselves much 
more seriously tnan they did the matter in hand. 
A dozen white-waistcoated and high-hatted Dep- 
uties standing outside of the Chamber suggest- 
ed nothing more momentous or national than 
a meeting of a Presbyterian General Assembly. 
Bicyclers of both sexes swung themselves from 
their machines and peered curiously through the 
iron fence, and, seeing nothing more interest- 
ing than the fluttering pennants of the lancers, 
mounted their wheels again and disappeared in 
the clouds of dust. 

In the meanwhile Casimir- Perier has been 
elected on the first ballot, which was taken with- 
out incident, save when one Deputy refused to 



I20 ABOUT PARIS 

announce his vote as the roll was called until he 
was addressed as '' citizen," and not as '' mon- 
sieur." This silly person was finally humored, 
and the result was declared, and Casimir-Perier 
left the hall to put on a dress-suit in order that 
he might receive the congratulations of his 
friends. As the first act of the new President, 
this must not be considered as significant of the 
particular man who did it, but as illustrating the 
point of view of his countrymen, who do not see 
that if the highest office in the country cannot 
lend sufficient dignity to the man who holds it, 
a dress-suit or his appearance on horseback is 
hardly able to do so. The congratulations last 
a long time, and are given so heartily and with 
such eloquence that the new President weeps 
while he grasps the hand of his late confreres, 
and says to each, " You must help me; I need 
you all." Neither is the fact that the President 
wept on this occasion significant of anything but 
that he was laboring under much excitement, and 
that the temperament of the French is one easily 
moved. People who cannot see why a strong 
man should weep merely because he has become 
a President must remember that Casimir-Perier 
wears the cross of the Legion of Honor for 
bravery in action on the field of battle. 



PARIS IN MOURNING 121 

The congratulations come to an end at last, 
and the new President leaves the palace, and 
takes his place in the open carriage that has 
been waiting his pleasure these last two hours. 
There is a great crowd around the gate now, all 
Versailles having turned out to cheer him, and 
he can hear them crying '' Vive le President !" 
from far across the length of the Court of Honor. 

M. Dupuy, his late rival at the polls, seats him- 
self beside him on his left, and two officers in 
uniform face him from the front. Before his 
carriage are two open lines of cavalry, proudly 
conscious in their steel breastplates and with 
their carbines on the hip that they are to convoy 
the new President to Paris; and behind him, in 
close order, are the lancers, with their flashing 
brass helmets, and their pennants fluttering in the 
wind. The horses start forward with a sharp 
clatter of hoofs on the broad stones of the square, 
the Deputies raise their high hats, and with a 
jangling of steel chains and swords, and with the 
pennants snapping in the breeze like tiny whips, 
the new President starts on his triumphal ride 
into Paris. The colossal statues of France's 
great men, from Charlemagne to Richelieu, look 
down upon him curiously as he whirls between 
them to the iron gateway and disappears in the 



122 ABOUT PARIS 

alley of mounted men and cheering civilians. 
He is out of it in a moment, and has galloped 
on in a whirling cloud of yellow dust towards 
the city lying seven miles away, where, six 
months later, by his unexpected resignation, he 
is to create a consternation as intense as that 
which preceded his election. 

It would be interesting to know of what Casi- 
mir-Perier thought as he rode through the empty 
streets in the cool of the summer evening, start- 
ling the villagers at their dinners, and bringing 
them on a run to the doors by the ringing jangle 
of his mounted men and the echoing hoofs. Per- 
haps he thought of the anarchists who might at- 
tempt his life, or of those who succeeded with 
the man whose place he had taken, or, what is 
more likely, he gave himself up to the moment, 
and said to himself, as each new face was framed 
by a window or peered through a doorway : " Yes, 
it is the new President of France, Casimir-Perier ; 
not only of France, but of all her colonies. By 
to-night they will know in Siam, in Tunis, in Al- 
giers, and in the swamps of Dahomey that there 
is a new step on the floor, and governors of prov- 
inces, and native rulers of barbarous states, and 
sous -prefets, and pretenders to the throne of 
France, will consider anxiously what the change 



PARIS IN MOURNING 



123 



means to them, and will be measuring their fort- 
unes with mine." 

The carriage and its escort enter the cool shad- 
ows of the Bois de Boulogne at Passy, and pass 
Longchamps, where the French President annu- 
ally reviews the army of France, and where now 
the victorias and broughams and fiacres draw to 
one side ; and he notes the look of amused inter- 
est on the faces of their occupants as his out- 
riders draw rapidly nearer, and the smiles of in- 
telligence as they comprehend that it is the new 
President, and he catches a glimpse out of the 
corner of his eye of nodding faces, and hats 
half raised in salute as he gallops past. It must 
have been a pleasant drive. Very few men have 
taken it. Very few men have swept round the 
circle of the Arc de Triomphe and seen the mass 
of glittering carriages stretching far down the 
avenue part and make way for them on either 
side. 

Casimir-Perier's brief term included many im- 
bitterments, but it is a question if they will ever 
destroy the sweetness of that moment when 
power first touched him as he was borne back to 
Paris the President of France ; and in his retire- 
ment he will recall that ride in the summer twi- 
light, which the refractory Deputies who caused 



124 ABOUT PARIS 

his downfall have never taken, and hear again 
the people cheering at Versailles, and the gallop- 
ing horses, and see the crowd that waited for him 
in the Place de la Concorde and ran beside his 
carriage across the bridge. 

Although the funeral procession was not to 
leave the Elysee until ten o'clock on Sunday 
morning, the thrifty citizens of Paris began to 
prepare for it as early as eleven o'clock on Sat- 
urday night. The Champs Elysees at that hour 
was lined with tables, boxes, and ladders, and 
any other portable object that could afford from 
its top a view of the pageant and standing-room, 
for which one might reasonably ask a franc. This 
barricade stretched in an unbroken front, which 
extended far back under the trees from the Ave- 
nue Marigny to the Place de la Concorde, where 
it spread out over the raised sidewalks and around 
the fountains and islands of safety, until the 
square was transformed into what looked like a 
great market-place. It was one of the most cu- 
rious sights that Parisians have ever seen in time 
of peace. Over four thousand people were en- 
camped around these temporary stands, some 
drinking and eating, others sleeping, and others 
busily and noisily engaged in erecting still more 



PARIS IN MOURNING 125 

stands, while the falling of the boards that were 
to form them rattled as they fell from the carts 
to the asphalt like the reports of musketry. Each 
stand was lit by a lantern and a smoking lamp ; 
and the men and women, as they moved about 
in the half-darkness, or slept curled up beneath 
the carts and tables, suggested the bivouac of an 
army, or that part of a besieged city where the 
people had gathered with their household goods 
for safety. 

The procession the next morning moved down 
the Champs Elysees and across the Place de la 
Concorde and along the Rue de Rivoli to Notre 
Dame, from whence, after the ceremony there, it 
proceeded on to the Pantheon. All of this line of 
march was guarded on either side by double lines 
of infantry, and one can obtain an idea of how 
great was the crowd behind them by the fact that 
on the morning of the procession five hundred 
people were taken in ambulances to the different 
hospitals of Paris. This included those who had 
fainted in the crush, or who had been overcome 
by the heat, or who had fallen from one of the 
many tottering scaffoldings. Each of the great 
vases along the iron fence of the Tuileries held 
one or two men, one of whom sat opposite us 
across the Rue de Rivoli, who had l)cen there 



126 ABOUT PARIS 

six hours, like Stylites on his pillar, except that 
the Parisian had an opera-glass, a morning paper, 
and a bottle of red wine to keep him company. 
The trees in the Tuileries were blackened with 
men, and the sky-line of every house-top moved 
with them. The crowd was greatest perhaps in 
the Place de la Concorde, where it spread a black 
carpet over the great square, which parted and 
fell away before the repeated charges of the 
cavalry like a piece of cloth before a pair of 
shears. It was a most orderly crowd, and an 
extremely good-humored one, and it manifested 
no strong feeling at any time, except over two 
features of the procession, which had nothing to 
do with the death of Carnot. Except when 
there was music, which was much too seldom, 
the crowd chattered and laughed as it might 
have done at a purely military function, and 
only the stern hisses of a few kept the majority 
from applauding any one who passed for whom 
they held an especial interest. 

The procession left the Elysee at ten o'clock, 
to the accompaniment of minute-guns from the 
battery on the pier near the Chamber of Depu- 
ties. It was led by a very fine body of cuiras- 
siers, who presented a better appearance than 
any of the soldiers in the procession. It was 



PARIS IN MOURNING 127 

not the f^reat military display that had been ex- 
pected ; there was no artillery in line, and the 
navy was not represented, save by a few guards 
around the wreath from the officers of that par- 
ticular service. The regiments of infantry, who 
were followed by the cavalry, lacked form, and 
marched as though they had not convinced 
themselves that what they were doing was worth 
doing well. The infantry was followed by the 
mourning-wreaths sent by the Senate and by the 
different monarchs of Europe. These wreaths 
form an important and characteristic part of the 
funeral of a great man in France, and as the 
French have studied this form of expressing 
their grief for some time, they produce the most 
magnificent and beautiful tributes, of greater 
proportions and in better taste than any that 
can be seen in an)" other country in the world. 
The lare^er of these wreaths were hung from 
great scaffoldings, supported on floats, each 
drawn by four or six horses. Some of these 
were so large that a man standing upright within 
them could not touch the opposite inner edges 
with his finger-tips. They were composed en- 
tirely of orchids or violets, with bands of purple 
silk stretching from side to side, and bearing the 
names of the senders in gold letters. The wreath 



128 ABOUT PARIS 

sent by the Emperor of Russia was given a place 
by itself, and mounted magnificently on a car 
draped with black, and surrounded by a special 
guard of military and servants of the household. 
The wreaths of the royalties were followed by 
more soldiers, and then came the black and silver 
catafalque that bore the body of the late Presi- 
dent. The wheels of this car were muffled with 
cloth, and the horses that drew it were completely 
hidden under trappings of black and silver ; the 
reins were broad white ribbons, and there was a 
mute at each horse's head. As the car passed, 
there was the first absolute silence of the morn- 
ing, and many people crossed themselves, and all 
of the men stood bareheaded. 

Separated from the catafalque by but a few 
rods, and walking quite alone, was the new Presi- 
dent, Casimir-Perier. There were soldiers and at- 
tendants between him and the line of soldiers 
which guarded the sidewalks, but he was alone in 
that there was no one near him. According to 
the protocol he should not have been there at all, 
as the etiquette of this function ruled that the 
new President should not intrude his person upon 
the occasion when the position held by his prede- 
cessor is being officially recognized for the last 
time. Casimir-Perier, however, chose to disre- 



PARIS IN MOURNING 129 

gard the etiquette of this protocol, arguing that 
the occasion was exceptional, and that no one 
had a better right to mourn for the late Presi- 
dent than the man who had succeeded to the 
dangers and responsibilities of that office. He 
was also undoubtedly moved by the fact that it 
was generally believed that his life would be at- 
tempted if he did walk conspicuously in the pro- 
cession. Had Carnot died a natural death, Casi- 
mir-Perier's presence at the funeral would have 
been in debatable taste, but Carnot's assassina- 
tion, and the threats which hung thick in the air, 
made the President take the risk he did, in spite 
of the fact that Carnot had been murdered in a 
public place, and not on account of it. 

It was distinctly a courageous thing for him to 
do, and it was done against the wishes of his 
best friends and the entreaties of his family, who 
spent the entire night before the procession in a 
chapel praying for his safety. He walked erect, 
with his eyes turned down, and with his hat at 
his side. He was in evening dress, with the crim- 
son sash of the Legion of Honor across his breast, 
and he presented a fine and soldierly bearing, 
and made an impression, both by his appearance 
and by his action, that could not have been 
gained so soon in any other manner. 
9 



130 ABOUT PARIS 

The embassies and legations followed Casimir- 
Perier in an irregular mass of glittering groups. 
All of these men were on foot. There was no 
exception permitted to this rule ; and it was in- 
teresting to see Lord Dufferin in the uniform of 
a viceroy of India, which he wore instead of his 
diplomatic uniform, marching in the dust in the 
same line with the firemen and letter-carriers. 
The ambassadors and their attaches were un- 
doubtedly the most brilliant and picturesque 
features of the occasion, and the United States 
ambassador and his secretaries were, on account 
of the contrast their black-and-white evening 
dress made to the colors and ribbons of the oth- 
ers, on this occasion, the most conspicuous and 
appropriately dressed men present. 

But what best pleased the French people were 
two girls dressed in the native costumes of Al- 
sace and Lorraine. They headed the deputation 
from those provinces. The girl who represented 
Alsace was particularly beautiful, with long black 
hair parted in the middle, and hanging down her 
back in long plaits. She wore the characteristic 
head-dress of the Alsacian women, and a short 
red skirt, black velvet bodice, and black stock- 
ings. She carried the French flag in front of her 
draped in crepe, and as she stepped briskly for- 




C-^^ 



\ 



THE (iIRL WHO REPRESENTED ALSACE 



PARIS IN MOURNING I33 

ward the wind blew the black bow on her hair 
and the folds of the flag about her face, and gave 
her a living and spirited air that in no way suit- 
ed the occasion, but which delighted the popu- 
lace. They applauded her and her companion 
from one end of the march to the other, and 
the spectacle must have rendered the German 
ambassador somewhat uncomfortable, and made 
him wish for a billet among a people who could 
learn to forget. The only other feature of the 
procession which called forth applause, which no 
one tried to suppress, was the presence in it of 
an old general who was mistaken by the specta- 
tors for Marshal Canrobert. This last of the 
marshals of France was too ill to march in the 
funeral cortege ; but the old soldier, who looked 
not unlike him, and whose limping gait and bent 
back and crutch-stick led him to be mistaken 
for the marshal, served the purpose quite as 
well. One wondered if it did not embarrass the 
veteran to find himself so suddenly elevated into 
the role of popular idol of the hour; but perhaps 
he persuaded himself that it was his white hair 
and crutch and many war-medals which called 
forth the ovation, and that he deserved it on his 
own account — as who can say he did not ? 

The unpleasant incident of the day was one 



134 ABOUT PARIS 

which was unfortunately acted in full view of 
the balconies of the hotels Meurice and Conti- 
nental. These were occupied by most of the 
foreigners visiting Paris, and were virtually the 
grandstands of the spectacle. 

In the Rue Castiglione, which separated the 
two hotels, and in full sight of these critical on- 
lookers, a horse was taken with the blind stag- 
gers, and upset a stand, throwing those who sat 
upon it out into the street. In an instant the 
crash of the falling timbers and the cries of the 
half-dozen men and women who had been pre- 
cipitated into the street struck panic into the 
crowd of sight-seers on the pavement and among 
the firemen who were at that moment marching 
past. The terror of another dynamite outrage 
was in the minds of all, and without waiting 
to learn what had happened, or to even look, 
the thousands of people broke into a confused 
mass of screaming, terrified creatures, running 
madly in every direction, and changing the quiet 
solemnity of the moment into a scene of horror 
and panic. The firemen dropped the wreath 
they were carrying and fled with the crowd ; and 
then the French soldiers who were lining the 
pavements, to the astonishment and disgust of 
the Americans and English on the balconies, who 



PARIS IN MOURNING 135 

were looking down like spectators at a play, 
tucked their guns under their arms and joined in 
the mad rush for safety. It was a sight that 
made even the women on the balconies keep si- 
lence in shame for them. It was pathetic, ridic- 
ulous, and inexcusable, and the boy officers on 
duty would have gained the sympathy of the un- 
willing spectators had they cut their men down 
with their swords, and shown the others that he 
who runs away from a falling grandstand is not 
needed to live to fight a German army later. It 
is true that the men who ran away were only 
boys fresh from the provinces, with dull minds 
filled with the fear of what an anarchist might 
do ; but it showed a lack of discipline that should 
have made the directors of the Salon turn the 
military pictures in that gallery to the wall, until 
the picture exhibited in the Rue Castiglione was 
effaced from the minds of the visiting strangers. 
Imagine a squad of New York policemen run- 
ning away from a horse with the blind staggers, 
and not, on the contrary, seizing the chance to 
club every one within reach back to the side- 
walk ! Remember the London bobby who car- 
ried a dynamite bomb in his hand from the hall 
of the Houses of Parliament, and the Chicago 
police who walked into a real anarchist mob over 



136 ABOUT PARIS 

the bodies of their comrades, and who answered 
the terrifying bombs with the popping of their 
revolvers I It is surprising that Napoleon, look- 
ing down upon the scene in the Rue Castiglione 
from the top of his column, did not turn on his 
pedestal. 

After such an exhibition as this it was only 
natural that the people should turn from the 
soldiers to find the greater interest in the miles 
of wreaths that came from every corner of France. 
These were the expressions of the truer sympathy 
with the dead President, and there seemed to be 
more sentiment and real regret in the little black 
bead wreaths from the villages in the south and 
west of France than there were in all the great 
wreaths of orchids and violets purchased on the 
boulevards. 

The procession had been two hours in passing 
a given point. It had moved at ten o'clock, and 
it was four in the afternoon before it dispersed 
at the Pantheon, and Deputies in evening dress 
and attaches in uniform and judges in scarlet 
robes could be seen hurrying over Paris in fiacres, 
faint and hot and cross, for the first taste of food 
and drink that had touched their lips since early 
morning. A few hours later there was not a sol- 
dier out of his barracks, the scaffoldings had been 



PARIS IN MOURNING 137 

taken to pieces, the spectators had been distrib- 
uted in trains to the environs, the bands played 
again in the gardens, and the theatres opened 
their doors. Paris had taken off her mourning, 
and fallen back into her interrupted routine of 
pleasure, and had left nothing in the streets to 
show that Carnot's body had passed over them 
save thousands of scraps of greasy newspapers 
in which the sympathetic spectators of the sol- 
emn function had wrapped their breakfasts. 



IV 



THE GRAND PRIX AND OTHER PRIZES 




THINK the most satisfying thing 
about the race for the Grand Prix 
at Longchamps is the knowledge 
that every one in Paris is justifying 
your interest in the event by being just as much 
excited about it as you are. You have the satis- 
faction of feehng that }"ou are with the crowd, 
or that the crowd is with you, as you choose to 
put it, and that you move in sympathy with hun- 
dreds of thousands of people, who, though they 
may not be at the race-track in person, wish they 
were, which is the next best thing, and which 
helps you in the form of moral support, at least. 
You feel that every one who passes by knows 
and approves of your idea of a holiday, and will 
quite understand when you ride out on the 
Champs Elysees at eleven o'clock in the morn- 
ing with four other men packed in one fiacre, or 
when, for no apparent reason, you hurl your hat 
into the air. 



THE GRAND PRIX AND OTHER PRIZES I39 

There are two ways of reaching Longchamps, 
the right way and the wrong way. The wrong 
way is to go with the crowd the entire distance 
through the Bois, and so find yourself stopped 
half a mile from the race-track in a barricade of 
carriages and hired fiacres, with the wheels scrap- 
ing, and the noses of the horses rubbing the 
backs of the carriages in front. This is enter- 
taining for a quarter of an hour, as you will find 
that every American or English man and woman 
you have ever met is sitting within talking dis- 
tance of you, and as you weave your way in 
and out like a shuttle in a great loom you have 
a chance to bow to a great many friends, and to 
gaze for several minutes at a time at all of the 
celebrities of Paris. But after an hour has passed, 
and you have discovered that your driver is not 
as clever as the others in stealing ground and 
pushing himself before his betters, you begin to 
grow hot, dusty, and cross, and when you do 
arrive at the track you are not in a proper frame 
of mind to lose money cheerfully and politely, 
like the true sportsman that you ought to be. 

The right way to go is through the Bois by 
the Lakes, stopping within sound of the water- 
fall at the Cafe de la Cascade. The advantage 
of this is that you escape the crowd, and that you 



I40 ABOUT PARIS 

have the pleasing certainty in your mind through- 
out the rest of the afternoon of knowing that 
you will be able to find your carriage again when 
the races are over. If you leave your fiacre at 
the main entrance, you will have to pick it out 
from three or four thousand others, all of which 
look exactly alike ; and even if you do tie a red 
handkerchief around the driver's whip, you will 
find that six hundred other people have thought 
of doing the same thing, and you will be an hour 
in finding the right one, and you will be jostled 
at the same time by the boys in blouses who are 
hunting up lost carriages, and finding the owners 
to fit them. 

You can avoid all this if you go to the Cascade 
and take your coachman's little ticket, and send 
him back to wait for you in the stables of the 
cafe, not forgetting to give him something in ad- 
vance for hi? breakfast. It is then only a three 
minutes' \valk from the restaurant among the 
trees to the back door of the race-track, and in 
five minutes after you have left your carriage 
you will have passed the sentry at the ticket- 
box, received your ticket from the young woman 
inside of it, given it to the official with a high 
hat and a big badge, and will be w^ithin the en- 
closure, with your temper unruffled and your 



THE GRAND PRIX AND OTHER PRIZES 141 

boots immaculate. And then, when the races 
are over, you have only to return to the restau- 
rant and hand your coachman's ticket to the tall 
chasseur, and let him do the rest, while you wait 
at a little round table and order cooling drinks. 

All great race meetings look very much alike. 
There are always the long grandstand with hu- 
man beings showing from the lowest steps to 
the sky-line ; the green track, and the miles of 
carriages and coaches encamped on the other 
side ; the crowd of well-dressed people in the 
enclosure, and the thin-legged horses cloaked 
mysteriously in blankets and stalking around the 
paddock ; the massive crush around the betting- 
booths, that sweeps slowly in eddies and cur- 
rents like a great body of water ; and the rush 
which answers the starting-bell. The two most 
distinctive features of the Grand Prix are the 
numbers of beautifully dressed women who mix 
quietly with the men around the booths at which 
the mutuals are sold, and the fact that every one 
speaks English, either because that is his native 
tongue, or because, if he be a Frenchman, he 
finds so many English terms in his racing vocabu- 
lary that it is easier for him to talk entirely in 
that tongue than to change from French to Eng- 
lish three or four times in each sentence. 



142 ABOUT PARIS 

But the most curious, and in a way the most 
interesting feature of the Grand Prix day, is the 
queer accompaniment to which the races are run. 
It never ceases or slackens, or lowers its sharp 
monotone. It comes from the machines which 
stamp the tickets bought in the mutual pools. 
If you can imagine a hundred ticket-collectors 
on an elevated railroad station all chopping tick- 
ets at the same time, and continuing at this un- 
interruptedly for five hours, you can obtain an 
idea of the sound of this accompaniment. It is 
not a question of cancelling a five-cent railroad 
ticket with these little instruments. It is the 
same to them whether they clip for the girl who 
wagers a louis on the favorite for a place, and 
who stands to win two francs, or for the English 
plunger who has shoved twenty thousand francs 
under the wire, and who has only the little 
yellow and red ticket which one of the machines 
has so nonchalantly punched to show for his 
money. People may neglect the horses for 
luncheon, or press over the rail to see them 
rush past, or gather to watch the President of 
the Republic enter to a solemn fanfare of trum- 
pets between lines of soldiers, but there are 
always a few left to feed these little machines, 
and their clicking goes on through the whole of 







THE RESTAURANT AMONG THE TREES 



THE GRAND PRIX AND OTHER PRIZES 145 

the hot, dusty day, like the clipping of the shears 
of Atropos. 

The Grand Prix is the only race at which you 
are generally sure to win money. You can do 
this by simply betting against the English horse. 
The English horse is generally the favorite, and 
of late years the French horse-owners have been 
so loath to see the blue ribbon of the French turf 
go to perfidious Albion that their patriotism 
sometimes overpowers their love of fair play. 
If the English horse is not only the favorite, but 
also happens to belong to the stable of Baron 
Hirsch, you have a combination that apparent- 
ly can never win on French soil, and you can 
make your bets accordingly. When Matchbox 
walked on to the track last year, he was escorted 
by eight gendarmes, seven detectives in plain 
clothes, his two trainers, and the jockey, and it 
was not until he was well out in the middle of 
the track that this body-guard deserted him. 
Possibly if they had been allowed to follow him 
round the course on bicycles he might have won, 
and no combination of French jockeys could have 
ridden him into the rail, or held Cannon back 
by a pressure of one knee in front of another, 
or driven him to making such excursions into 
unknown territory to avoid these very things 



146 ABOUT PARIS 

that the horse had little strength left for the 
finish. 

But perhaps the French horse was the better 
one, after all, and it was certainly worth the loss 
of a few francs to see the Frenchmen rejoice 
over their victory. To their minds, such a defeat 
of the English on the field of Longchamps went 
far to wipe away the memory of that other 
victory on the field near Brussels. 

Grand Prix night is a fete-night in Paris — that 
is, in the Paris of the Boulevards and the Champs 
Elysees — and if you wish to dine well before ten 
o'clock, you should engage your table for that 
night several days in advance. 

You have seen people during Horse Show week 
in New York waiting in the hall at Delmonico's 
for a table for a half-hour at a time, but on Grand 
Prix night you will see hundreds of hungry men 
standing outside of the open-air restaurants in 
the Champs Elysees, or wandering disconsolately 
under the trees from the crowded tables of THor- 
loge across the Avenue to those of the Ambassa- 
deurs', and from them to the Alcazar d'Ete, and 
so on to Laurent's and the Cafe d'Orient. Every 
one apparently is dining out-of-doors on that 
night, and the white tables, with their little lamps, 
and with bottles of red wine flickering in their 



THE GRAND PRIX AND OTHER PRIZES 147 

light, stretch under the trees from the Place de 
la Concorde up to the Avenue Matignon. There 
are splashing fountains between them and bands 
of music, and the voices of the singers in the 
cafes chantants sound shrilly above the chorus of 
rattling china and of hundreds of people talking 
and laughing, and the never-ceasing undertone of 
the cabs rolling by on the great Avenue, with 
their lamps approaching and disappearing in the 
night like thousands of giant fire-flies. You are 
sure to dine well in such surroundings, and espe- 
cially so after the great race — for the reason that 
if your friends liave won, they command a good 
dinner to celebrate the fact ; or should they have 
lost, they design a better one in order to help 
them forget their ill-fortune. 

The spirit of adventure and excitement that 
has been growing and feeding upon itself through- 
out the day of the Grand Prix reaches its climax 
after the dinner hour, and finds an outlet among 
the trees and Chinese lanterns of the Jardin de 
Paris. There you will see all Paris. It is the 
crest of the highest wave of pleasure that rears 
itself and breaks there. 

You will see on that night, and only on that 
night, all of the most celebrated women of l*aris 
racing with linked arms about the asphalt pave- 



148 ABOUT PARIS 

merit which circles around the band-stand. It 
is for them their one night of freedom in pub- 
He, when they are permitted to conduct them- 
selves as do their less prosperous sisters, when, 
instead of reclining in a victoria in the Bois, with 
eyes demurely fixed ahead of them, they can 
throw off restraint and mix with all the men of 
Paris, and show their diamonds, and romp and 
dance and chaff and laugh as they did when they 
were not so famous. The French swells who 
are their escorts have cut down Chinese lanterns 
with their sticks, and stuck the candles inside 
of them on the top of their high hats with the 
burning tallow, and made living torches of 
themselves. So on they go, racing by — first a 
youth in evening dress, dripping with candle- 
grease, and then a beautiful girl in a dinner 
gown, with her silk and velvet opera cloak 
slipping from her shoulders — all singing to the 
music of the band, sweeping the people before 
them, or closing in a circle around some stately 
dignitary, and waltzing furiously past him to 
prevent his escape. Sometimes one party will 
storm the band-stand and seize the musicians' 
instruments, while another invades the stage of 
the little theatre, or overpowers the women in 
charge of the shooting-gallery, or institutes a 




INTERESTED IN THE WINNER 



THE GRAND PRIX AND OTHER PRIZES 151 

hurdle-race over the iron tables and the wicker 
chairs. 

Or you will see ambassadors and men of title 
from the Jockey Club jostling cockney book- 
makers and English lords to look at a little girl 
in a linen blouse and a flat straw hat, who is 
dancing in the same circle of shining shirt-fronts 
vis-a-vis to the most-talked-of young person in 
Paris, who wears diamonds in ropes, and who 
rode herself into notoriety by winning a steeple- 
chase against a field of French officers. The first 
is a hired dancer, who will kick off some gentle- 
man's hat when she wants it, and pass it round 
for money, and the other is the companion of 
princes, and has probably never been permitted 
to enter the Jardin de Paris before ; but they are 
both of the same class, and when the music stops 
for a moment they approach each other smiling, 
each on her guard against possible condescension 
or familiarity ; and the hired dancer, who is as 
famous in her way as the young girl with the 
ropes of diamonds is in hers, compliments ma- 
dame on her dancing, and madame calls the other 
" mademoiselle," and says, '' How very warm it 
is !" and the circle of men around them, who are 
leaning on each other's shoulders and standing 
on benches and tables to look, smile delightedly 



152 ABOUT PARIS 

at the spectacle. They consider it very cJiic, this 
combination. It is like a meeting between Ma- 
dame Bernhardt and Yvette Guilbert. 

But the climax of the night was reached last 
year when the band of a hundred pieces struck 
buoyantly into that most reckless and impudent 
of marches and comic songs, '* The Man that 
Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo." The cymbals 
clashed, and the big drums emphasized the high 
notes, and the brass blared out boastfully with a 
confidence and swagger that showed how sure the 
musicians were of pleasing that particular au- 
dience with that particular tune. And they were 
not disappointed. The three thousand men and 
women hailed the first bars of the song with a 
yell of recognition, and then dancing and strut- 
ting to the rhythm of the tune, and singing and 
shouting it in French and English, they raised 
their voices in such a chorus that they could be 
heard defiantly proclaiming who they were and 
what they had done as far as the boulevards. And 
when they reached the high note in the chorus, 
the musicians, carried away by the fever of the 
crowd, jumped upon the chairs, and held their in- 
struments as high above their heads as they could 
without losing control of that note, and every 
one stood on tiptoe, and many on one foot, all 



THE GRAND PRIX AND OTHER PRIZES 153 

holding on to that highest note as long as their 
breath lasted. It was a triumphant, reckless yell 
of defiance and delight ; it was the war-cry of that 
class of Parisians of which one always reads and 
which one sees so seldom, which comes to the 
surface only at unusual intervals, and which, when 
it does appear, lives up to its reputation, and does 
not disappoint you. 

It happened a short time ago, when I was in 
Paris, that the ranks of those members of the 
Institute of France who are known as the Forty 
Immortals were incomplete, one of the Forty 
having but lately died. I do not now recall the 
name of this Immortal, which is not, I trust, an 
evidence of ignorance on my part so much as it 
is an illustration of the circumstance that when 
men choose to make sure of immortality while 
they are alive, in preference to waiting for it after 
death, they are apt to be considered, when they 
cease to live, as having had their share, and the 
world closes its account with them, and opens up 
one with some less impatient individual. It is 
only a matter of choice, and suggests that one 
cannot have one's cake and eat it too. And so, 
while we can but envy Francois Coppee in his 
green coat and his laurel wreath of the Immor- 



154 ABOUT PARIS 

tals of France, we may remember the other sort 
of immortality that came to Frangois Villon and 
Frangois Millet, who were not members of the 
Institute, and whose coats were very ragged in- 
deed. I do, however, remember the name of the 
gentleman who was elected to fill the vacancy in 
the ranks of the Forty, and in telling how he and 
other living men take on the robe of immortality 
I hope to report the proceedings of one of the 
most interesting functions of the French capital. 
He was the Vicomte de Bornier, and his name 
was especially impressed upon me by a para- 
graph which appeared in the Figaro on the day 
following his admittance to the Academy. 

*' M. Manel," the paragraph read, " the well- 
known journalist, has renounced his candidacy 
for the vacant chair among the Forty Immortals. 
M. Manel will be well remembered by Parisians 
as the author who has written so much and so 
charmingly under the nam de plume of '■ Le Vi- 
comte de Bornier.' " Whether this was or was 
not fair to the gentleman I had seen so highly 
honored I do not know, but it was calculated to 
make him a literary light of interest. 

You are told in Paris that the title of Acade- 
mician is the only one remaining under the re- 
public which counts for anything ; and, on the 



THE GRAND PRIX AND OTHER PRIZES 1 55 

Other hand, you hear the Academy called a pleas- 
ant club for old gentlemen, to which new mem- 
bers are elected not for any great work which 
they are doing in the world, but because their 
point of view is congenial to those who are al- 
ready members. All that can be said against 
the Academy by a Frenchman has been printed 
by Alphonse Daudet in TJie Immortals. In that 
novel he charges that the Academy numbs 
the style of whosoever wears its green livery ; 
he says that he who enters its door leaves orig- 
inality behind, that he grows conservative and 
self-conscious, and that whatever freshness of 
thought or literary method may have been his 
before his admittance to its venerable portals is 
chilled by the severe classicism of his thirty-nine 
brethren. 

This may or may not be true of some of the 
members, but it certainly cannot be true of all, 
as many of them were never distinguished as 
authors, but were elected, as were De Lesseps 
and Pasteur, for discoveries and research in sci- 
ence, medicine, or engineering. 

Nor is it true of M. Paul Bourget, who is the 
last distinguished Frenchman to be received into 
the ranks of the Immortals. The same observa- 
tions which he made to me while in this coun- 



156 ABOUT PARIS 

try, and when he was not an Academician, upon 
Americans and American institutions, he has re- 
peated, since his accession to the rank of an Im- 
mortal, in Outre Mer. And the freedom with 
which he has spoken shows that the shadow of 
the pahn-trees has not clouded his cosmopolitan 
point of view, nor the classicism of the Acad- 
emy dulled his wonderful powers of analysis. In 
his election, representing as he does the most 
brilliant of the younger and progressive school 
of French writers, the Academy has not so much 
honored the man as the man has honored the 
Academy. 

M. Daudet's opinion, however, is interesting 
as being that of one of the most distinguished 
of French writers, and it is a satire which costs 
something, for it shuts off M. Daudet forever 
from hope of election to the body at which he 
scoffs, and at the same time robs him of the 
possibility of ever enjoying the added money 
value which attaches to each book that bears 
the leaves of the Academy on its title-page. 
Since the days of Richelieu, Frenchmen have 
mocked at this institution, and Frenchmen have 
given up years of their lives in working, schem- 
ing, and praying to be admitted to its councils, 
and died disappointed, and bitterly cursing it in 



> 
o 

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d 

1/3 

o 
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en 

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THE GRAND PRIX AND OTHER PRIZES 1 59 

their hearts. We have on the one hand the fa- 
miliar story of Alexis Piron, who had engraved 
on his tombstone, 

" Ci-gtt Piroit, qui ne fiit rz'eJt, 
Pas me me Academz'cien." 

And on the other there is the present picture of 
M. Zola knocking year after year at its portals, 
asking men in many ways his inferior to permit 
him a right to sit beside them. If you look over 
its lists from 1635 to the present day you will 
find as many great names among its members as 
those which are missing from its rolls; so that 
proves nothing. 

No ridicule can disestablish the importance of 
the work done by the Academy in keeping the 
French language pure, or the value of its Dic- 
tionary, or the incentive which it gives to good 
work by examining and reporting from time to 
time on literary, scientific, and historical works. 

A short time ago the anarchists of Paris deter- 
mined to actively ridicule the Academic Fran- 
^aise by putting forth a foolish person, Citizen 
Achille Le Roy, as a candidate for its honors. 
As a preliminary to election to the Academy a 
candidate must call upon all of its members. It 



l6o ABOUT PARIS 

is a formality which may be considered some- 
what humiHating, as it suggests begging from 
door to door, hat in hand ; but Citizen Le Rov 
made his round of visits in triumphal state, 
dressed in the cast-off uniform of a Bolivian gen- 
eral, and accompanied by a band of music and a 
wagonette full of journalists. Wherever he was 
not received he deposited an imitation bomb at 
the door of the member who had refused to see 
him, either as a warning or as a joke, and much 
to the alarm of the servants who opened the 
door. He concluded his journey, which extend- 
ed over several days, by being photographed out- 
side of the door of the Institute, which was, of 
course, the only side of the door which he will 
ever see. 

The Institute of France stands bej'ond the 
bridges, facing the Seine. It is a most impres- 
sive and ancient pile, built around a great court, 
and guarded by statues in bronze and stone of 
the men who have been admitted to its gates. 
The ceremony of receiving a new member takes 
place in one end of this quadrangle of stone, in a 
little round hall, not so large as the auditorium 
of a New York theatre, and built like a dissect- 
ing-room, with three rows of low-hanging stone 
balconies circling the entire circumference of its 



THE GRAND PRIX AND OTHER PRIZES l6l 

walls. One part of the lowest balcony is divided 
into two large boxes, with a high desk between 
them, and a flight of steps leading down from it 
into the pit, which is packed close with benches. 
In one of these boxes sit some members of the 
Institute, and in the other the members of the 
Academic Frangaise, which is only one, though 
the best known, of the five branches into which 
the Institute is divided. Behind the high desk 
sits the President, or, as he is called, the Secre- 
taire Perpetuel, of the Academy, with a mem- 
ber on either side. It is the duty of one of 
these to read the address of welcome to the in- 
coming mortal. 

It is a very pretty sight and a most important 
function in the social world, and as there are do 
reserved places, the invited ones come as early 
as eight o'clock in the morning to secure a good 
place, although the brief exercises do not begin 
until two o'clock in the afternoon. At that hour 
the street outside is lined with long rows of car- 
riages, guarded by the smartest of English coach- 
men, and emblazoned with the oldest of French 
coats-of-arms. In the court-yard there is a flut- 
tering group of pretty women in wonderful toi- 
lets, surrounding a few distinguished - looking 
men with ribbons in their coats, and encircled 



l62 ABOUT PARIS 

by a ring of journalists making notes of the cos- 
tumes and taking down the names of the social 
celebrities. A double row of soldiers — for the 
Institute is part of the state — lines the main 
hall leading to the chamber, and salutes all who 
pass, whether men or women. 

I was so unfortunate as to arrive very late, but 
as I came in with the American ambassador I 
secured a very good place, although a most awk- 
wardly conspicuous one. Three old gentlemen 
in silk knickerbockers and gold chains bowed 
the ambassador down the hall between the sol- 
diers, and out on to the steps which lead from 
the desk between the boxes in which sat the 
Immortals. There they placed two little camp- 
stools about eight inches high, on which they 
begged us to be seated. There was not another 
square foot of space in the entire chamber which 
was not occupied, so we dropped down upon the 
camp-stools. We were as conspicuous as you 
would be if you seated yourself on top of the 
prompter's box on the stage of the Grand Opera- 
house, and I felt exactly, after the audience had 
examined us at their leisure, as though the Sec- 
retary was about to suddenly rap on his desk 
and auction me off for whatever he could get. 
Still, we sat among the Immortals, if only for an 



THE GRAND PRIX AND OTHER PRIZES 163 

hour, and that was something. The venerable 
Secretary peered over his desk, and the other 
Immortals gazed with polite curiosity, for the 
ambassador had only just arrived in Paris, and 
was not yet known. 

The gentleman on the right of the Secretary 
was Francois Coppee, a very handsome man, with 
a strong, kind face, smoothly shaven, and sug- 
gesting a priest or a tragic actor. He wore the 
uniform of the Academy, which Napoleon spent 
much time in devising. It consists of a coat of 
dark green, bordered with palm leaves in a light- 
er green silk; there are, too, a high standing 
collar and a white waistcoat and a pearl-handled 
sword. The poet also wore a great many deco- 
rations, and smiled kindly upon Mr. Eustis and 
myself, with apparently great amusement. On 
the other side of the President, back of Mr. 
Eustis, was Comte d'Haussonville ; he is a tall 
man with a Vandyck beard, and it was he who 
was to read the address of welcome to the Vi- 
comte de Bornier. 

Below in the pit, and all around in the bal- 
conies, were women beautifully dressed, among 
whom there were as few young girls as there 
were men. These were the most interesting 
women in Parisian society — the ladies of the 



l64 ABOUT PARIS 

Faubourg St.-Germain, who at that time would 
have appeared at scarcely any other function, 
and the ladies who support the Rcviic dcs Dciix 
Mondcs, and the pretty young daughters of cham- 
pagne and chocolate making papas who had mar- 
ried ancient titles, and who try to emulate in 
their interests, if not in their toilets, their more 
noble sisters-in-law, and all the prettiest women 
of the high world, as well as the sisters of pre- 
tenders to the throne and the wife of President 
Carnot. The absence of men was very notice- 
able ; the Immortals seemed to have it all to 
themselves, and it looked as though they had 
purposely refrained from asking any men, or that 
the men who had not been given the robe of im- 
mortality were jealous, and so stayed away of their 
own accord. Those who were there either looked 
bored, or else posed for the benefit of the ladies, 
with one hand in the opening of their w^aistcoats, 
nodding their heads approvingly at what the 
speaker said. In the pit I recognized M. Blow- 
itz, the famous correspondent of the Times, en- 
tirely surrounded by women. He wore a gray 
suit and a flowing white tie, and he did not seem 
to be having a very good time. There were also 
among the Immortals Jules Simon, and Alexan- 
dre Dumas fils, dark-skinned, with little, black, 



THE GRAND PRIX AND OTHER PRIZES 165 

observant eyes, and white, curled hair, and crisp 
mustache. He seemed to be more interested in 
watching the women than in hstening to the 
speeches, and moved restlessly and inattentively. 
When the exercises were over, and the Academi- 
cians came out of their box and were presented 
to Mr. Eustis, Dumas was gravely courteous, 
and spoke a few words of welcome to the am- 
bassador in a formal, distant way, and then hur- 
ried off by himself without waiting to chat with 
the women, as the others did. He was the most 
interesting of them all to me, and the least in- 
terested in what was going on. There were many 
others there, and it w^as amusing to try and 
fasten to them the names of Pasteur and Henri 
Meilhac, Ludovic Halevy, and the Due d'Au- 
male, the uncle of the Comte de Paris, who was 
then alive, and Benjamin Constant, who had the 
week before been admitted to the Institute. 
Some of them, heavy-eyed men, with great firm 
jaws and heavy foreheads, wearing their braided 
coats uneasily, as though they would have been 
more comfortable in a surgeon's apron or a 
painter's blouse, kept you wondering what they 
had done; and others, dapper and smiling and 
obsequious, made you ask what they could pos- 
sibly do. 



l66 ABOUT PARIS 

The Vicomte Bornier opened the proceedings 
by reading his address to the beautiful ladies, 
with his cocked hat under his arm and his moth- 
er-of-pearl sword at his side, and I am afraid it 
did not appeal to me as a very serious business. 
It was too suggestive of an afternoon tea. There 
was too much patting of kid-gloved hands, and 
too many women altogether. It was a little like 
Bunthorne and the twenty maidens. If the lit- 
tle theatre had been crowded with men eager to 
hear what this new light in literature had to say, 
it might have been impressive, but the sight of 
forty distinguished men sitting apart and calling 
themselves fine names, and surrounded by wom- 
en who believed they were what they called 
themselves, had its humorous side. I could not 
make out what the speech was about, because 
the French was too good ; but it was eminently 
characteristic and interesting to find that both 
Bornier and D'Haussonville made their most 
successful points when they paid compliments 
to the ladies present, or to womenkind in gen- 
eral, or when they called for revenge on Ger- 
many. I thought it curious that even in a eulogy 
on a dead man, and in an address of welcome to 
a live one, each Frenchman could manage to in- 
troduce at least three references of Alsace-Lor- 



THE GRAND PRIX AND OTHER PRIZES 169 

raine, and to bow and make pretty speeches to 
the ladies in the audience. 

There is a pecuHarity about this second ad- 
dress which is worth noting. It concerns itself 
with the virtues of the incoming member, and as 
he is generally puffed up with honor, the address 
is always put into the hands of one whose duty it 
is to severely criticise and undervalue him and 
his words. It is a curious idea to belittle the 
man whom you have just honored, but it is the 
custom, and as both speeches are submitted to 
a committee before they are read, there is no 
very hard feeling. It is only in the address read 
after a member's death that he is eulogized, and 
then it does not do him very much good. On 
the occasion of Pierre I.oti's admission to the 
Academy he, instead of eulogizing the man 
whose place he had taken, lauded his own meth- 
ods and style of composition so greatly that 
when the second member arose he prefaced his 
remarks by suggesting that '' M. Loti has said 
so much for himself that he has left me nothing 
to add." 

It is very much of a step from the Academic 
Frangaise to the Fete of Flowers in the Bois de 
Boulogne, but the latter comes under the head of 



I70 ABOUT PARIS 

one of the shows of Paris, and is to me one of the 
prettiest and the most remarkable. I do not be- 
Heve that it could be successfully carried out in 
any other city in the world. There would cer- 
tainly be horse-play and roughness to spoil it, 
and it is only the Frenchman's idea of gallantry 
and the good-nature of both the French man and 
woman which render it possible. It would be an 
easy matter to hold a fete of flowers at Los An- 
geles or at Nice, or in any small city or watering- 
place where all the participants would know one 
another and the masses would be content to act 
as spectators; but to venture on such a spec- 
tacle, and to throw it open to any one who pays 
a few francs, in as great a city as Paris, requires, 
first of all, the highest executive ability before 
the artistic and pictorial side of the affair is con- 
sidered at all, and the most hearty co-operation 
of the state or local government with the citi- 
zens who have it in hand. 

On the day of the fete the All^e du Jardin 
d'Acclimatation in the Bois is reserved absolute- 
ly for the combatants in this annual battle of 
flowers, which begins at four o'clock in the after- 
noon and lasts uninterruptedly until dinner-time. 
Each of the cross-roads leading up to the All^e 
is barricaded, and carriages are allowed to enter 



THE GRAND PRIX AND OTHER PRIZES 171 

or to depart only at either end. This leaves an 
open stretch of road several miles in extent, and 
wide enough for four rows of carriages to pass 
one another at the same moment. Thick woods 
line the Allee on either side, and the branches 
of the trees almost touch above it. Beneath 
them, and close to the roadway, sit thousands of 
men, women, and children in close rows, and back 
of them hundreds more move up and down the 
pathways. The carriages proceed in four un- 
broken lines, two going up and two going down ; 
and as they pass, the occupants pelt each other 
and the spectators along the road-side with hand- 
fuls of flowers. For three miles this battle rages 
between the six rows of people, and the air is 
filled with the flying missiles and shrieks of 
laughter and the most graceful of compliments 
and good-natured blague. At every fifty yards 
stands a high arch, twined with festoons trailing 
from one arch to the next, and temporary flag- 
poles flying long banners of the tricolor, and 
holding shields which bear the monogram of the 
republic. The long festoons of flowers and the 
flags swinging and flying against the dark green 
of the trees form the Allee into one long tunnel 
of color and light ; and at every thirty paces 
there is the gleaming cuirass of a trooper, with 



172 ABOUT PARIS 

the sun shining on his helmet and breastplate, 
and on other steel breastplates, which extend, 
like the mirrors in " Richard III.," as far as the 
eye can reach, flashing and burning in the sun. 
Between these beacons of steel, and under the 
flags and flowers and green branches, move near- 
ly eight miles of carriages, with varnished sides 
and polished leather flickering in the light, each 
smothered with broad colored ribbons and flow- 
ers, and gay with lace parasols. 

It is a most cosmopolitan crowd, and it is in- 
teresting to see how seriously some of the occu- 
pants of the carriages take the matter in hand, 
and how others turn it into an ovation for them- 
selves, and still others treat it as an excuse to 
give some one else pleasure. You will see two 
Parisian dandies in a fiacre, with their ammu- 
nition piled as high as their knees, saluting and 
chaffing and calling by name e^h pretty woman 
who passes, and following them in the line you 
will see a respectable family carriage contain- 
ing papa, mamma, and the babies, and with the 
coachman on the box hidden by great breast- 
works of bouquets. To the proud parents on 
the back seat the affair is one which is to be met 
with dignified approval, and they bow politely to 
whoever hurls a rose or a bunch of wild flowers 



THE GRAND PRIX AND OTHER PRIZES 173 

at one of their children. They, in their turn, will 
be followed by a magnificent victoria, glittering 
with varnish and emblazoned by strange coats-of- 
arms, and holding two coal-black negroes, with 
faces as shiny as their high silk hats. They have 
with them on the front seat a hired guide from 
one of the hotels, who is showing Paris to them, 
and who is probably telling them that every 
woman who Idughs and hits them with a flower is 
a duchess at least, at which their broad faces beam 
with good-natur'ed embarrassment and their teeth 
show, and they scramble up and empty a hand- 
ful of rare roses over the lady's departing shoul- 
ders. There are frequent halts in the procession, 
which moves at a walk, and carriages are often 
left standing side by side facing opposite ways 
for the space of a minute, in which time there is 
ample opportunity to exhaust most of the am- 
munition at hand, or to express thanks for the 
flowers received. The good order of the day is 
very marked, and the good manners as well. 
The flowers are not accepted as missiles, but as 
tributes, and the women smile and nod demure- 
ly, and the men bow, and put aside a pretty 
nosegay for the next meeting ; and when they 
draw near the same carriage again, they will 
smile their recognition, and wait until the wheels 



174 ABOUT PARIS 

are just drawing away from one another, and 
then heap their offerings at the ladies' feet. 

There are a great number of Americans who 
are only in Paris for the month, and whom you 
have seen on the steamer, or passing up the Rue 
de la Paix, or at the banker's on mail day, and 
they seize this chance to recognize their coun- 
trymen, and grow tremendously excited in hit- 
ting each other in the eyes and on the nose, and 
then pass each other the next day in the Champs 
Elysees without the movement of an eyelash. 
The hour excuses all. It has the freedom of 
carnival-time without its license, and it is pretty 
to see certain women posing as great ladies, in 
hired fiacres, and being treated with as much eni- 
pressement and courtesy by every man as though 
he believed the fiacre was not hired, and the 
pearl necklace was real and not from the Palais 
Royal, and that he had not seen the woman the 
night before circling around the endless tread- 
mill of the Jardin de Paris. Sometimes there 
will be a coach all red and green and brass, and 
sometimes a little wicker basket on low w^heels, 
with a donkey in the shafts, and filled with chil- 
dren in the care of a groom, who holds them by 
their skirts to keep them from hurling themselves 
out after the flowers, and who looks immensely 



THE GRAND PRIX AND OTHER PRIZES 175 

pleased whenever any one pelts them back and 
points them out as pretty children. But the 
greater number of the children stand along the 
roadside with their sisters and mothers. They 
are of the good bourgeois class and of the de- 
cently poor, who beg prettily for a flower instead 
of giving one, and who dash out under the wheels 
for those that fall by the wayside, and return 
with them to the safety of their mother's knee 
in a state of excited triumph. 

When you see how much one of the broken 
flowers means to them, you wonder what they 
think of the cars that pass toppling over with 
flowers, with the harness and the spokes of the 
wheels picked out in carnations, and banked with 
shields of nodding roses at the sides and backs. 

These are the carriages entered for prizes, and 
some of them are very wonderful and very beau- 
tiful. One holds a group of Rastaqoueres, who 
have spent a clerk's yearly income in decorating 
their victoria, that they may send word back to 
South America that they have won a prize from 
a board of Parisian judges. 

And another is a big billowy phaeton bloom- 
ing within and without with white roses and car- 
nations, and holding a beautiful lady with auburn 
hair and powdered face, and with the lace of her 



176 ABOUT PARIS 

Empire bonnet just falling to the line of her black 
eyebrows. She is all in white too, with white 
gloves, and a parasol of nothing but white lace, 
and she reclines rather than sits in this trium- 
phal car of pure white flowers, like a Cleopatra in 
her barge, or Venus lying on the white crest of 
the waves. All the men recognize her, and throw 
their choicest offerings into her lap ; but when- 
ever I saw her she seemed more interested in 
the crowds along the road-side, who announced 
her approach with an excited murmur of admira- 
tion, and the little children in blouses threw their 
nosegays at her, and then stood back, abashed 
at her loveliness, with their hands behind them. 
She was quite used to being pelted with flowers 
at one of the theatres, but she seemed to enjoy 
this tribute very much, and she tossed roses back 
at the children, and watched them as they car- 
ried her flowers to the nurse or the elder sister 
who was taking care of them, and who looked 
after the woman with frightened, admiring eyes. 



V 



AMERICANS IN PARIS 




MERICANS who go to Paris might 
be divided, for the purposes of this 
article at least, into two classes — 
those who use Paris for their own 
improvement or pleasure, and those who find her 
too strong for them, and who go down before 
her and worship her, and whom she either fash- 
ions after her own liking, or rides under foot and 
neglects until they lose heart and disappear for- 
ever. 

Balzac, in the last paragraph of one of his nov- 
els, leaves his hero standing on the top of a hill 
above Paris, shaking his fist at the city below 
him, and cursing her for a wanton. 

One might argue that this was a somewhat 
childish and theatrical point of view for the 
young man to have taken. He probably found 
in Paris exactly what he brought there, and it 
seems hardly fair, because the city was stronger 
than he, that he should blame her and call her 



la 



178 ABOUT PARIS 

a hard name. Paris is something much better 
than that, only the young man was probably not 
looking for anything better. He had taken her 
frivolous side too seriously, and had not sought 
for her better side at all. Some one should have 
told him that Paris makes a most agreeable mis- 
tress, but a very hard master. 

There are a few Americans who do not know 
this until it is too late, until they lose their 
heads with all the turmoil and beauty and un- 
ending pleasures of the place, and grow to be- 
lieve that the voice of Paris is the voice of the 
whole world. Perhaps they have heard the voice 
speak once ; it has praised a picture which they 
have painted, or a book of verses that they have 
written, or a garden fete that they have given, at 
which there were present as many as three am- 
bassadors. And they sit breathless ever after, 
waiting for the voice to speak to them again, 
and while they are waiting Paris is exclaiming 
over some new picture, or another fete, at which 
there were four ambassadors ; and the poor little 
artist or the poor little social struggler wonders 
why he is forgotten, and keeps on struggling and 
fluttering and biting his nails and eating his heart 
out in private, listening for the voice to speak his 
name once more. 




-LISTENING FOR THE VOICE TO SI'EAK HIS NAME ONCE MORE' 



AMERICANS IN PARIS l8l 

He will not believe that his time has come and 
gone, and that Paris has no memory, and no de- 
sire but to see and to hear some new thing. She 
has taken his money and eaten his dinners and 
hung his pictures once or twice in a good place ; 
but, now that his money is gone, Paris has other 
dinners to eat, and other statues to admire, and 
no leisure time to spend at his dull receptions, 
which have taken the place of his rare dinners, 
or to climb to his garret when there is a more 
amusing and more modern painter on the first 
floor. 

Paris is full of these poor hangers-on, who 
have allowed her to use them and pat them on 
the back, and who cannot see that her approba- 
tion is not the only reward worth the striving 
for, but who go on year after year tagging in 
her train, beseeching her to take some notice of 
them. They are like the little boys who run be- 
side the coaches and turn somersaults to draw a 
copper from the passengers on top, and who are 
finally left far behind, unobserved and forgotten 
beside the dusty road. The wise man and the 
sensible man takes the button or the medal or 
the place on a jury that Paris gives him, and is 
glad to get it, and proud of the recognition and 
of the source from which it comes, and then con- 



l82 ABOUT PARIS 

tinues on his way unobserved, working for the 
work's sake. He knows that Paris has taught 
him much, but that she has given him all she 
can, and that he must now work out his own 
salvation for himself. 

Or, if he be merely an idler visiting Paris for 
the summer, he takes Paris as an idler should, 
and she receives him with open arms. He does 
not go there to spend four hours a day, or even 
four hours a week, in the serious occupation of 
leaving visiting-cards. He does not invite the 
same people with whom he dined two weeks 
before in New York to dine and breakfast with 
him again in Paris, nor does he spend every af- 
ternoon in a frock-coat watching polo, or in flan- 
nels playing lawn-tennis on the lie de Puteaux. 
He has tennis and polo at home. Nor did he go 
all the way to Paris to dance in little hot apart- 
ments, or to spend the greater part of each day 
at the race-tracks of Longchamps or Auteuil. 
The Americans who do these things in Paris are 
a strange and incomprehensible class. Fortu- 
nately they do not form a large class, but they 
do form a conspicuous one, and while it really 
does not concern any one but themselves as to 
how they spend their time, it is a little aggravat- 
ing to have them spoiling the local color of a city 



AMERICANS IN PARIS 183 

for which they have no real appreciation, and 
from which they get no more benefit than they 
would have received had they remained at home 
in Newport. 

They treat Paris as they would treat Narragan- 
sett Pier, only they act with a little less restraint, 
and are very much more in evidence. They are 
in their own environment and in the picture at 
the Pier or at the Horse Show, and if you do not 
like it you are at perfect liberty to keep out of 
it, and you will not be missed ; but you do ob- 
ject to have your view of the Arc de Triomphe 
cut in two by a coach-load of them, or to have 
them swoop down upon D'Armenonville or Max- 
im's on the boulevards, calling each other by 
their first names, and running from table to ta- 
ble, and ordering the Hungarians to play " Daisy 
Bell," until you begin to think you are in the 
hall of the Hotel Waldorf, and go out into the 
night to hear French spoken, if only by a cab- 
man. 

I was on the back seat of a coach one morn- 
ing in the Bois de Boulogne, watching Howlett 
give a man a lesson in driving four horses at 
once. 

It was very early, and the dew was still on the 
trees, and the great, broad avenues were empty 



l84 ABOUT PARIS 

and sweet-smelling and green, and I exclaimed 
on the beauty of Paris. *' Beautiful?" echoed 
Howlett. '' I should say it was, sir. Now in 
London, sir, all the roads lie so straight there's 
no practice driving there. But in Paris it's all 
turns and short corners. It's the most beautiful 
city in the world." I thought it was interesting 
to find a man so wrapped up in his chosen work 
that he could see nothing in the French capital 
but the angles which made the driving of four 
horses a matter of some skill. But what interest 
can you take in those Americans who have been 
taught something else besides driving, and who 
yet see only those things in Paris that are of quite 
as little worth as the sharp turns of the street 
corners? 

You wonder if it never occurs to them to walk 
along the banks of the Seine and look over the 
side at the people unloading canal-boats, or clip- 
ping poodles, or watering cavalry horses, or pa- 
tiently fishing; if they never pull over the books 
in the stalls that line the quays, or just loiter in 
abject laziness, with their arms on the parapet of 
a bridge, with the sun on their backs, and the 
steamboats darting to and fro beneath them, 
and with the towers of Notre Dame before and 
the grim prison of the Conciergerie on one side. 



AMERICANS IN PARIS 185 

Surely this is a better employment than taking 
tea to the music of a Hungarian band while 
your young friends from Beverly Farms and 
Rockaway knock a polo-ball around a ten-acre 
lot. I met two American women hurrvine along- 
the Rue de Rivoli one morning last summer who 
told me that they had just arrived in Paris that 
moment, and were about to leave two hours later 
for Havre to take the steamer home. 

'' So," explained the elder, " as we have so 
much time, we are just running down to the 
Louvre to take a farewell look at ' Mona Lisa' 
and the ' Winged Victory ;' we won't see them 
again for a year, perhaps." Their conduct struck 
me as interesting when compared with that of 
about four hundred other American girls, who 
never see anything of Paris during their four 
weeks' stay there each summer, because so much 
of their time is taken up at the dress-makers'. It 
is pathetic to see them come back to the hotel 
at five, tired out and cross, with having had to 
stand on their feet four hours at a time while 
some mysterious ceremony was going forward. 
It is hard on them when the sun is shining out- 
of-doors and there are beautiful drives and great 
art galleries and quaint old chapels and curious 
museums and ancient gardens lying free and 



l86 ABOUT PARIS 

Open all around them, that they should be com- 
pelled to spend four weeks in this fashion. 

There was a young woman of this class of 
American visitors to Paris who had just arrived 
there on her way from Rome, and who was tell- 
ing us how much she had delighted in the gal- 
leries there. She was complaining that she had 
no more pictures to enjoy. Some one asked her 
what objection she had to the Louvre or the 
Luxembourg. 

'' Oh, none at all,'' she said ; ** but I saw those 
pictures last year." 

These are the Americans who go to Paris for 
the spring and summer only, who live in hotels, 
and see little of the city beyond the Rue de la 
Paix and the Avenue of the Champs Elysees and 
their bankers'. They get a great deal of pleas- 
ure out of their visit, however, and they learn 
how important a thing it is to speak French cor- 
rectly. If they derive no other benefit from their 
visit they are sufficiently justified, and when we 
contrast them with other Americans who have 
made Paris their chosen home, they almost shine 
as public benefactors in comparison. 

For they, at least, bring something back to 
their own country: themselves, and pretty frocks 
and bonnets, and a certain wider knowledge of 




" STANDING ON 



THEIR FEET FOK HOURS AT A TIME 



AMERICANS IN PARIS 189 

the world. That is not much, but it is more 
than the American Colony does. 

There is something fine in the idea of a colo- 
ny, of a body of men and women who strike out 
for themselves in a new country, who cut out 
their homes in primeval forests, and who make 
their peace with the native barbarians. The Pil- 
grim Fathers and the early settlers in Australia 
and South Africa and amidst the snows of Cana- 
da were colonists of whom any mother- nation 
might be proud ; but the emigrants who shrink 
at the crudeness of our present American civiliza- 
tion, who shirk the responsibilities of our govern- 
ment, who must have a leisure class with which 
to play, and who are shocked by the familiarity 
of our press, are colonists who leave their coun- 
try for their country's good. The American Col- 
ony in Paris is in a strange position. Its mem- 
bers are neither the one thing nor the other. 
They cannot stand in the shadow of the Arc de 
Triomphe and feel that any part of its glory falls 
on them, nor can they pretend an intcn-st in the 
defeat of Tammany Hall, nor claim any portion 
in the magnificent triumph of the Chicago Fair. 
Their attitude must always be one of explana- 
tion ; they are continually on the defensive ; 
they apologize to the American visitor and 



190 ABOUT PARIS 

to the native Frenchman ; they have decHned 
their birthright and arc voluntary exiles from 
their home. The only way by which they can 
justify their action is either to belittle what they 
have given up, or to emphasize the benefits which 
they have received in exchange, and these bene- 
fits are hardly perceptible. They remain what 
they are, and no matter how long it may have 
been since they ceased to be Americans, they do 
not become Frenchmen. They are a race all to 
themselves ; they are the American Colony. 

On regular occasions this Colony asserts itself, 
but only on those occasions when there is a 
chance of its advertising itself at the expense of 
the country it has renounced. When this chance 
comes the Colonists suddenly remember their 
former home ; they rush into print, or they make 
speeches in public places, or buy wreaths for 
some dead celebrity. Or when it so happens 
that no one of prominence has died for some 
time, and there seems to be no other way of get- 
ting themselves noticed, the American Colony 
rises in its strength and remembers Lafayette, 
and decorates his grave. Once every month or 
so they march out into the country and lay a 
wreath on his tomb, and so for the moment gain a 
certain vogue with the Parisians, which is all that 



AMERICANS IN PARIS 191 

they ask. They do not perform this ceremony 
because Lafayette fought in America, but be- 
cause he was a Frenchman fighting in America, 
and they are playing now to the French galler- 
ies and not to the American bleaching -boards. 
There are a few descendants of Lafayette who 
are deserving of our sincere sympathy. For 
these gentlemen are brought into the suburbs 
many times a year in the rain and storm to watch 
different American Colonists place a wreath on 
the tomb of their distinguished ancestor, and 
make speeches about a man who left his country 
only to fight for the independence of another 
country, and not to live in it after it was free. 
Some day the descendants of Lafayette and the 
secretaries of the American embassy will rise up 
and rebel, and refuse to lend themselves longer 
to the uses of these gentlemen. 

They will suggest that there are other graves 
in Paris. There is, for instance, the grave of 
Paul Jones, who possibly did as much for Ameri- 
ca on the sea as Lafayette did on shore. If he 
had only been a PVenchman, with a few descend- 
ants of title still living who would consent to 
act as chief mourners on occasion, his spirit 
might hope to be occasionally remembered with 
a wreath or two; but as it is, he is not to be con- 



192 ABOUT PARIS 

sidered with the French marquis, who must, we 
can well imagine, turn uneasily beneath the 
wreaths these self- advertising patriots lay upon 
his grave. 

The American Colony is not wicked, but it 
would like to be thought so, which is much 
worse. Among some of the men it is a pose to 
be considered the friend of this or that particu- 
lar married woman, and each of them, instead of 
paying the woman the slight tribute of treating 
her in public as though they were the merest ac- 
quaintances, which is the least the man can do, 
rather forces himself upon her horizon, and is al- 
ways in evidence, not obnoxiously, but unobtru- 
sively, like a pet cat or a butler, but still with 
sufificient pertinacity to let you know that he is 
there. 

As a matter of fact the women have not the 
courage to carry out to the end these affairs of 
which they hint, as have the French men and 
women around them whose example they are try- 
ing to emulate. And, moreover, the twenty-five 
years of virtue which they have spent in Ameri- 
ca, as Balzac has pointed out, is not to be over- 
come in a day or in many days, and so they only 
pretend to have overcome it, and tell risqu^s sto- 
ries and talk scandalously of each other and even 



AMERICANS IN PARIS I93 

of young girls. But it all begins and ends in 
talk, and the risqiie's stories, if they knew it, sound 
rather silly from their lips, especially to men who 
put them away when they were boys at board- 
ing-school, and when they were so young that 
they thought it was grand to be vulgar and man- 
ly to be nasty. 

It is a question whether or not one should be 
pleased that the would-be wicked American wom- 
an in Paris cannot adopt the point of view of 
the Parisian women as easily as she adopts their 
bonnets. She tries to do so, it is true ; she tries 
to look on life from the same side, but she does 
not succeed very well, and you may be sure she 
is afraid and a fraud at heart, and in private a 
most excellent wife and mother. If it be repre- 
hensible to be a hypocrite and to pretend to be 
better than one is, it should also be wrong to 
pretend to be worse than one dares to be, and so 
lend countenance to others. It is like a man 
who shouts with the mob, but whose* sympathies 
are against it. The mob only hears him shout 
and takes courage at his doing so, and continues 
in consequence to destroy things. And these 
foolish, pretty women lend countenance by their 
talk and by their stories to many things of which 
they know nothing from experience, and so do 
13 



194 ABOUT PARIS 

themselves injustice and others much harm. 
Sometimes it happens that an outsider brings 
them up with a sharp turn, and shows them how 
far they have strayed from the standard which 
they recognized at home. I remember, as an in- 
stance of this, how an American art student told 
me with much satisfaction last summer of how 
he had made himself intensely disagreeable at a 
dinner given by one of these expatriated Ameri- 
cans. *' I didn't mind their taking away the char- 
acter of every married woman they knew," he 
said ; " they were their own friends, not mine ; 
but I did object when they began on the young 
girls, for that is something we haven't learned at 

home yet. And finally they got to Miss , 

and one of the women said, ' Oh, she has so com- 
promised herself now that no one will marry 

h» >> 
er. 

At which, it seems, my young man banged the 
table with his fist, and said : " I'll marry her, if 
she'll have me, and I know twenty more men at 
home who would be glad of the chance. We've 
all asked her once, and we're willing to ask her 
again." 

There was an uncomfortable pause, and the 
young woman who had spoken protested she had 
not meant it so seriously. She had only meant 




"THE AMERICAN COLONY IS NOT WICKKU 



AMERICANS IN PARIS I97 

the girl was a tMe passec and travel-worn. But 
when the women had left the table, one of the 
men laughed, and said : 

" You are quite like a breeze from the piny 
woods at home. I suppose we do talk rather 
thoughtlessly over here, but then none of us 
take what we say of each other as absolute truth." 

The other men all agreed to this, and protest- 
ed that no one took them or what they said seri- 
ously. They were quite right, and, as a matter of 
fact, it would be unjust to them to do so, except 
to pity them. The Man without a Country was 
no more unfortunate than they. It is true they 
have Henry's bar, where they can get real Amer- 
ican cocktails, and the Travellers', where they 
can play real American poker ; but that is as 
near as they ever get to anything that savors of 
our country, and they do not get as near as that 
towards anything that savors of the Frenchman's 
country. They have their own social successes, 
and their own salons and dinner-parties, but the 
Faubourg St. -Germain is as strange a territory 
to many of them as though it were situated in 
the heart of the Congo Basin. 

Of course there arc many fine, charming, whole- 
souled, and clean -minded American women in 
Paris. They are the wives of bankers or mer- 



198 ABOUT PARIS 

chants or the representatives of the firms which 
have their branches in Paris and London as well 
as New York. And there are hundreds more of 
Americans who are in Paris because of its art, the 
cheapness of its living, and its beauty. I am not 
speaking of them, and should they read this they 
will understand. 

The American in Paris of whom one longest 
hesitates to speak is the girl or woman who has 
married a title. She has been so much misrepre- 
sented in the press, and so misunderstood, and 
she suffers in some cases so acutely without let- 
ting it be known how much she suffers, that the 
kindest word that could be said of her is not half 
so kind as silence. No one can tell her more dis- 
tinctly than she herself knows what her lot is, or 
how few of her illusions have been realized. It 
is not a case where one can point out grandilo- 
quently that uneasy lies the head that wears a 
coronet; it is not magnificent sorrow; it is just 
pathetic, sordid, and occasionally ridiculous. To 
treat it too seriously would be as absurd as to 
weep over a man who had allowed himself to be 
fooled by a thimblerigger ; only in this case it is 
a woman who has been imposed upon, and who 
asks for your sympathy. 

There is a very excellent comic song which 



AMERICANS IN PARIS 199 

points out how certain things arc only Enghsh 
when you see them on Broadway ; and a title, or 
the satisfaction of being a countess or princess, 
when viewed from a Broadway or Fifth Avenue 
point of view, is a very pretty and desirable ob- 
ject. But as the title has to be worn in Paris and 
not in New York, its importance lies in the way 
in which it is considered there, not here. As far 
as appears on the surface, the American woman 
of title in Paris fails to win what she sought, from 
either her own people or those among whom she 
has married. To her friends from New York or 
San Francisco she is still Sallie This or Eleanor 
That. Her friends are not deceived or im- 
pressed or overcome — at least, not in Paris. 
When they return to New York they speak cas- 
ually of how they have been spending the sum- 
mer with the Princess So -and -So, and they do 
not add that she used to be Sallie Sprigs of San 
Francisco. But in Paris, when they are with her, 
they call her Sallie, just as of yore, and they let 
her understand that they do not consider her in 
any way changed since she has become enno- 
bled, or that the glamour of her rank in any 
way dazzles them. And she in her turn is so 
anxious that they shall have nothing to say of 
her to her disadvantage when they return that 



200 ABOUT PARIS 

she shows them little of her altered state, and is 
careful not to refer to any of the interesting 
names on her new visiting-list. 

Her husband's relations in France are more 
disappointing: they certainly cannot be expect- 
ed to see her in any different light from that of 
an outsider and a nobody , they will not even 
admit that she is pretty ; and they say among 
themselves that, so long as Cousin Charles had 
to marry a great fortune, it is a pity he did not 
marry a French woman, and that they always 
had preferred the daughter of the chocolate- 
maker, or the champagne-grower, or the Hebrew 
banker — all of whom were offered to him. The 
American princess cannot expect people who 
have had title and ancestors so long as to have 
forgotten them to look upon Sallie Sprigs of 
California as anything better than an Indian 
squaw. And the result is, that all which the 
American woman makes by her marriage is the 
privilege of putting her coronet on her handker- 
chief and the humble deference of the women 
at Paquin's or Virot's, who say ' Madame the 
Baroness " and " Madame the Princess " at every 
second word. It really seems a very heavy price 
to pay for very little. 

We are attributing very trivial and vulgar mo- 



AMERICANS IN PARIS 20I 

tives to the woman, and it may be, after all, that 
she married for love in spite of the title, and not 
on account of it. Ikit if these are love-matches, 
it would surely sometimes happen that the Amer- 
ican men in their turn, would fall in love with 
foreign women of title, and that we would hear 
of impecunious princesses and countesses hunt- 
ing through the States for rich brokers and 
wheat-dealers. Of course the obvious answer to 
this is that the American women are so much 
more attractive than the men that they appeal 
to people of all nations and of every rank, and 
that American men are content to take them 
without the title. 

The rich fathers of the young girls who are 
sacrificed should go into the business with a 
more accurate knowledge of what they are buy- 
ing. Even the shrewdest of them — men who 
could not be misled into buying a worthless 
railroad or an empty mine — are frequently im- 
posed upon in these speculations. The reason 
is that while they have made a study of the 
relative values and the soundness of railroads 
and mines, they have not taken the pains to 
study this question of titles, and as long as 
a man is a count or a prince, they inquire no 
further, and one of them buys him for his 



202 ABOUT PARIS 

daughter on his face value. There should be 
a sort of Bradstreet for these rich parents, which 
they could consult before investing so much 
money plus a young girl's happiness. There 
are, as a matter of fact, only a very few titles 
worth buying, and in selecting the choice should 
always lie between one of England and one of 
Germany. An English earl is the best the Amer- 
ican heiress can reasonably hope for, and after 
him a husband with a German title is very desira- 
ble. These might be rated as " sure " and '' safe " 
investments. 

But these French titles created by Napoleon, 
or the Italians, with titles created by the Papal 
Court, and the small fry of other countries, are 
really not worth while. Theirs are not titles ; as 
some one has said, they are epitaphs ; and the 
best thing to do with the young American girl 
who thinks she would like to be a princess is 
to take her abroad early in her life, and let her 
meet a few other American girls who have be- 
come princesses. After that, if she still wants to 
buy a prince and pay his debts and supply him 
with the credit to run into more debt, she has 
only herself to blame, and goes into it with her 
pretty eyes wide open. It will be then only too 
evident that she is fitted for nothing higher. 




WHAT 



MIGHT SOME TIME HAPPEN IF THESE WERE LOVE- 

matches" 



AMERICANS IN PARIS 205 

On no one class of visitor does Paris lay her 
spell more heavily than on the American art 
student. For, no matter where he has studied 
at home, or under what master, he finds when 
he reaches Paris so much that is new and beau- 
tiful and full of inspiration that he becomes as 
intolerant as are all recent converts, and so hap- 
py in his chosen profession that he looks upon 
everything else than art with impatience and 
contempt. As art is something about which 
there are many opinions, he too often passes 
rapidly on to the stage when he can see nothing 
to admire in any work save that which the mas- 
ter that he worships declares to be true, and he 
scorns every other form of expression and every 
other school and every other artist. 

You almost envy the young man his certainty 
of mind and the unquestionableness of his opin- 
ion. He will take you through the Salon at a 
quick step, demolishing whole walls of pictures 
as he goes with a sweeping gesture of the hand, 
and will finally bring you breathless before a lit- 
tle picture, or a group of them, which, so he in- 
forms you, arc the only ones in the exhibition 
worthy of consideration. And on the day fol- 
lowing a young disciple of another school will es- 
cort you through the same rooms, and regard 



206 ABOUT PARIS 

with pitying contempt the pictures which your 
friend of tlie day before has left standing, and 
will pick out somewhere near the roof a strange 
monstrosity, beneath which he will stand with 
bowed head, and upon which he will comment in 
a whisper. 

It is an amusing pose, and most bewildering 
to a philistine like myself when he finds all the 
artists whom he had venerated denounced as 
photographers and decorators, or story-tellers 
and illustrators. I used to be quite ashamed of 
the ignorance which had left me so long unen- 
lightened as to what was true and beautiful. 

These boys have, perhaps, an aunt in Kansas 
City, or a mother in Lynn, Massachusetts, who 
is* saving and pinching to send them fifteen or 
twenty dollars a week so that they can learn to 
be great painters, and they have not been in 
Paris a week before they have changed their 
entire view of art, and adopted a new method 
and a new master and a new religion. It is no- 
wise derogatory to a boy to be supported by a 
fond aunt in Kansas City, who sends him fifteen 
dollars a week and the news of the social life of 
that place, but it is amusing to think how she 
and his cousins in the West would be awed if 
they heard him damn a picture by waving his 



AMERICANS IN PARIS 20/ 

thumb in the air at it, and saying, " It has a Ht- 
tle too much of that," with a downward sweep 
of the thumb, " and not enough of this," with an 
upward sweep. For one hardly expects a youth 
who is still at Julien's, and who has not yet paid 
the first quarter's rent for his studio, to proclaim 
all the first painters of France as only fit to col- 
or photographs. It is as if some one were to 
say, '' You can take away all of the books of the 
Boston Library and nothing will be lost, but 
spare three volumes of sonnets written by the 
only great writer of the present time, who is a 
friend of mine, and of whom no one knows but 
myself." 

Of course one must admire loyalty of that sort, 
for when it is loyalty to an idea it cannot help 
but be fine and sometimes noble, though it is a 
trifle amusing as well. It is just this tenacity of 
belief in one's own work, and just this intolerance 
of the work of others, that make Paris inspiring. 
A man cannot help but be in earnest, if he 
amounts to anything at all, when on every side 
he hears his work attacked or vaunted to the 
skies. As long as the question asked is " Is it 
art ?" and not *' Will it sell ?" and '' Is it popu- 
lar ?" the influence must be for good. 

These students, in their loyalty to the particu- 



2o8 ABOUT PARIS 

lar school they admire, of course proclaim their 
belief in every public and private place, and are 
ever on their guard, but it is in their studios that 
they have set up their gods and established their 
doctrines most firmly. 

One of these young men, whom I had known 
at college, took me to his studio last summer, 
and asked me to tell him how I liked it. It 
was a most embarrassing question to me, for to 
my untrained eye the rooms seemed to be strick- 
en with poverty, and so bare as to appear unten- 
anted. I said, at last, that he had a very fine 
view from his windows. 

" Yes, but you say nothing of tne room it- 
self," he protested ; " and I have spent so much 
time and thought on it. I have been a year and 
a half in arranging this room." 

'' But there is nothing in it," I objected; **you 
couldn't have taken a year and a half to arrange 
these things. There is not enough of them. It 
shouldn't have taken more than half an hour.'* 

He smiled with a sweet, superior smile, and 
shook his head at me. " I am afraid," he said, 
** that you are one of those people who like stu- 
dios filled with tapestries and armor and palms 
and huge, hideous chests of carved wood. You 
are probably the sort of person who would hang 



AMERICANS IN PARIS 209 

a tennis-racket on his wall and consider it deco- 
rative. We believe in lines and subdued colors 
and broad, bare surfaces. There is nothing in 
this room that has not a meaning of its own. 
You are quite right ; there is very little in it ; 
but what is here could not be altered or changed 
without spoiling the harmony of the whole, and 
nothing in it could be replaced or improved 
upon." 

I regarded the studio with renewed interest at 
this, and took a mental inventory of its contents 
for my own improvement. I was guiltily con- 
scious that once at college I had placed two la- 
crosse-sticks over my doorway, and what made it 
worse was that I did not play lacrosse, and that 
they had been borrowed from the man up-stairs 
for decorative purposes solely. I hoped my ar- 
tist friend would not question me too closely. 
His room had a bare floor and gray walls and a 
green door. There was a long, low bookcase, and 
a straight-legged table, on which stood, ranged 
against the wall, a blue and white jar, a gold 
Buddha, and a jade bottle. On one wall hung a 
gray silk poke - bonnet, of the fashion of the 
year 1830, and on another an empty gold frame. 
With the exception of three chairs there was 
nothing else in the room. I moved slightly, and 



2IO ABOUT PARIS 



with the nervous fear that if I disturbed or disar- 
ranged anything the bare gray walls might fall 
in on me. And then I asked him why he did 
not put a picture in his frame. 

" Ah, exactly !" he exclaimed, triumphantly ; 
'' that shows exactly what you are ; you are an 
American philistine. You cannot see that a pict- 
ure is a beautiful thing in itself, and that a dead- 
gold frame with its four straight lines is beauti- 
ful also; but together they might not be beautiful. 
That gray wall needs a spot on it, and so I hung 
that gold frame there, not because it was a frame, 
but because it was beautiful ; for the same rea- 
son I hung that eighteen-thirty bonnet on the 
other wall. The two grays harmonize. People 
do not generally hang bonnets on walls, but that 
is because they regard them as things of use, and 
not as things of beauty." 

I pointed with my stick at the three lonely 
ornaments on the solitary table. " Then if you 
were to put the blue and white jar on the right 
of the Buddha, instead of on the left," I asked, 
" the whole room would feel the shock?" 

" Of course," answered my friend. '* Can't 
even you see that ?" 

I tried to see it, but I could not. I had only 
just arrived in Paris. 



AMERICANS IN PARIS 211 

There was another artist with a studio across 
the bridges, and his love of art cost him much 
money and some severe trials. His suite of 
rooms was all in blue, gray, white, and black. 
He said that if you looked at things in the 
world properly, you would see that they were 
all gray, blue, or black. He had painted a gray 
lady in a gray dress, with a blue parrot on her 
shoulder. She had brown lips and grayish teeth. 
He was very much disappointed in me when 1 
told him that lips always looked to me either 
pink or red. He explained by saying that my 
eyes were not trained properly. I resented this, 
and told him that my eyes were as good as his 
own, and that a recruiting officer had once tested 
them with colored yarns and letters of the alpha- 
bet held up in inaccessible corners, and had given 
me a higher mark for eyesight than for anything 
else. He said it was not a question of colored 
yarns ; and that while I might satisfy a recruit- 
ing sergeant that I could distinguish an ammuni- 
tion train from a travelling circus, it did not ren- 
der me a critic on art matters. He pointed out 
that the eyes of the women in the Caucasus who 
make rugs are trained to distinguish a hundred 
and eighty different shades of colors that other 
eyes cannot see ; and in time, he added, I would 



212 ABOUT PARIS 

see that everything in real life looked flat and 
gray. I took a red carnation out of my coat, 
and put it over the gray lady's lips, and asked 
him whether he would call it gray or red, and he 
said that was no argument. 

He suffered a great deal in his efforts to live 
up to his ideas, but assured me that he was much 
happier than I in my ignorance of what was beau- 
tiful. He explained, for instance, that he would 
like to put up some of the photographs of his 
family that he had brought with him around his 
room, but that he could not do it, because pho- 
tographs were so undecorative. So he kept them 
in his trunk. He also kept a green cage full of 
doves because they were gray and white and 
decorative, and in spite of the fact that they 
were a nuisance, and always flying away, and 
being caught again by small boys, who brought 
them back, and wanted a franc for so doing. He 
suffered, too, in his inability to find the shade of 
blue for his chair covers that would harmonize 
with the rest of his room. He covered the furni- 
ture five times, and never successfully, and hence 
the cushions of his lounge and stiff chairs were 
still as white as when they had last gone to the 
upholsterer's. 

These young men are friends of mine, and I 



AMERICANS IN PARIS 213 

am sure they will not object to my describing 
their ateliers, of which they were very proud. 
They believed in their own schools, and in their 
own ways of looking at art, and no one could 
laugh or argue them out of it ; consequently 
they deserved credit for the faith that was in 
them. They are chiefly interesting heie as 
showing how a young man will develop in the 
artistic atmosphere of Paris. It is only when he 
ceases to develop, and sinks into the easy leth- 
argy of a life of pleasure there, that he becomes 
uninteresting. 

There was still another young man whom I 
knew there who can serve here now as an ex- 
ample of the American who stops in Paris too 
long. 

I first met this artist at a garden-party, and he 
asked me if I did not think it dull, and took me 
for a walk up to Montmartre, talking all the way 
of what a great and beautiful mother Paris was 
to those who worked there. His home was in 
Maine, and he let me know, without reflecting 
on his native town, that he had been choked 
and cramped there, and that his life had been 
the life of a Siberian exile. Here he found peo- 
ple who could understand ; here, the very statues 
and buildings gave him advice and encourage- 



214 ABOUT PARIS 

ment ; here were people who took him and his 
work seriously, and who helped him on to fresh 
endeavors, and who made work a delight. 

"I have one picture in the Salon," he said, 
flushing with proper pride and pleasure, " and 
one has just gone to the World's Fair, and an- 
other has received an honorable mention at 
Munich. That's pretty good for my first year, 
is it not ? And I'm only twenty-five years old 
now," he added, with his eyes smiling into the 
future at the great things he was to do. No- 
body could resist the contagion of his enthusi- 
asm and earnestness of purpose. 

He was painting the portrait of some rich 
man's daughter at the time, and her family took 
a patronizing interest in him, and said it was a 
pity that he did not go out more into society 
and get commissions. They asked me to tell 
him to be more careful about his dress, and to 
suggest to him not to wear a high hat with a 
sack-coat. I told them to leave him alone, and 
not to worry about his clothes, or to suggest his 
running atter people who had pretty daughters 
and money enough to have them painted. These 
people would run after him soon enough, if he 
went on as he had begun. 

When I saw him on the boulevards the next 








-^^^§^^4 






VI 




I HAVE ONE PICTURE IN THE SALON 



AMERICANS IN PARIS 21; 

summer he had to reintroduce himself; he was 
very smartly dressed, in a cheap way, and he 
was sipping silly little sweet juices in front of a 
cafe. He was flushed and nervous and tired 
looking, and rattled off a list of the fashionable 
people who were then in Paris as correctly as a 
Galignani reporter could have done it. 

** How's art ?" I asked. 

*' Oh, very well," he replied. '' I had a picture 
in the Salon last year, and another was com- 
mended at Munich, and I had another one at 
the Fair. That's pretty good for my first two 
years abroad, isn't it ?" 

The next year I saw him several times with 
various young women in the court-yard of the 
Grand Hotel, than w^hich there is probably no 
place in all Paris less Parisian. They seemed to 
be models in street dress, and were as easy to 
distinguish as a naval officer in citizen's clothes. 
He stopped me once again before I left Paris, 
and invited me to his studio to breakfast. I 
asked him what he had to show me there. 

" I have three pictures," he said, " that I did 
the first six months I was here ; they — " 

''Yes, I know," I interrupted. "One was at last 
year's Salon, and one at the World's Fair, and the 
other took a prize at Munich. Is that all ?" 



21 8 ABOUT PARIS 

He flushed a little, and laughed, and said, 
'' Yes, that is all." 

" Do you get much inspiration here?" I asked, 
pointing to the colored fountain and the piles o£ 
luggage and the ugly glass roof. 

'' I don't understand you," he said. 

He put the card he had held out to me back 
in his case, and bowed grandly, and walked 
back to the girl he had left at one of the tables, 
and on my way out from the offices I saw him 
frowning into a glass before him. The girl was 
pulling him by the sleeve, but he apparently 
was not listening. 

The American artist who has taken Paris prop- 
erly has only kind words to speak of her. He 
is grateful for what she gave him, but he is not 
unmindful of his mother-country at home. He 
may complain when he returns of the mud in 
our streets, and the height of our seventeen- 
story buildings, and the ugliness of our elevated 
l^oads — and who does not ? But if his own art is 
lasting and there is in his heart much constancy, 
his work will grow and continue in spite of these 
things, and will not droop from the lack of at- 
mosphere about him. New York and every 
great city owns a number of these men who 
have studied in the French capital, and who 



AMERICANS IN PARIS 219 

Speak of it as fondly as a man speaks of his col- 
lege and of the years he spent there. They help 
to leaven the lump and to instruct others who 
have not had the chance that was given them to 
see and to learn of all these beautiful things. 
These are the men who made the Columbian 
Fair what it was, who taught their teacher and 
the whole world a lesson in what was possible in 
architecture and in statuary, in decoration and 
design. That was a much better and a much 
finer thing for them to have done than to have 
dragged on in Paris waiting for a ribbon or a 
medal. They are the best examples we have of 
the Americans who made use of Paris, instead of 
permitting Paris to make use of them. And be- 
cause they did the one thing and avoided the 
other, they are now helping and enlightening 
their own people and a whole nation, and not 
selfishly waiting in a foreign capital for a place 
on a jury for themselves. 



THE END